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Wednesday, 18 May 2022 21:26

SA records 8,179 new COVID-19 cases with 55 related deaths.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 8,179 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 908 020. 

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (38%) followed by Western Cape (21%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 15%; Eastern Cape accounted for 8% and Free State accounted for 7%. Northern Cape accounted for 4%; Mpumalanga & North West each accounted for 3% respectively, and Limpopo accounted for 1% of today's cases.

This increase represents a 22.6% positivity rate.

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is (22.6%), and is higher than yesterday (20.9%). The 7-day average is (23.1%) today, and is lower than yesterday (23.4%).

Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported. Today, the NDoH reports 55 deaths, and of these, 18 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 100,867 to date.

A new study shows that people who receive a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine are less likely to end up in hospital for the disease.  

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine by the Sisonke Study team, is one of the first real-world studies on vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19.

The Sisonke Study gave healthcare workers access to the J&J Covid-19 vaccine through an implementation science clinical trial. 

The latest published study results found that a second dose of the vaccine protected participants from hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) admission by up to 82% in the first two months after the second dose, compared to unvaccinated populations. 

Initially, J&J was supposed to be a single-shot vaccine, but a second booster shot is recommended.

The analysis was conducted after 240 000 Sisonke study participants received their second J&J vaccine in November and December 2021, when the Omicron variant was dominant during the fourth Covid-19 wave. 

Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, senior author and Sisonke co-lead, said:There is great utility of a single dose of the J&J vaccine in emergency situations, but it is very reassuring in this study to see two doses of J&J performs equally well to two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and that, once again, our vaccines are protecting despite the Omicron variant.

As the country battles a fifth wave of the pandemic, the health department continues to struggle to get more people vaccinated, despite evidence that it protects against hospitalisation and severe disease.  

The number of vaccinated people in the country has been hovering just below 50% for months. The country has enough vaccines to cover the adult population.  

Only 49.69% of the adult population is vaccinated. The 18-34 age group has the least number of vaccinated people at only 36.67%.