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Johannesburg: Infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in South Africa were milder compared to those in earlier waves, while hospitalisation rates were lower, according to a study. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted as preprint in The Lancet, analysed the clinical severity of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the first four weeks of the Omicron-dominated fourth wave.
The researchers at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa and colleagues from other institutes compared the severity to the first four weeks of the Beta dominated second and Delta-dominated third waves in Gauteng Province. They collated daily polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen positive SARS-CoV-2 case data from laboratory reports.
Data on hospital admissions were collected through a surveillance programme established specifically for COVID-19. Mathematical models were used to compare disease severity in the three wave periods.
Severe disease was defined as one or more of acute respiratory distress, supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation, intensive care or death.
The study found that there were 41,046, 33,423, and 133,551 SARS-CoV-2 cases in the second, third and fourth waves respectively.
About 4.9 per cent of cases were admitted to hospital during the fourth wave compared to 18.9 per cent and 13.7 per cent during the second and third waves, the researchers said.
During the fourth wave, 28.8 per cent of admissions were severe disease compared to 60.1 per cent and 66.9 per cent in the second and third waves, they said.
Admitted patients in the Omicron-dominated fourth wave were 73 per cent less likely to have severe disease than patients admitted during the Delta-dominated third wave, according to the researchers.
The proportion of cases admitted was lower and those admitted were less severe during the first four weeks of the Omicron-dominated fourth wave in Gauteng province of South Africa. Since any combination of a less-virulent virus, comorbidities, high immunity from prior infection(s) or vaccination may be important contributors to this clinical presentation, care should be taken in extrapolating this to other populations with different co-morbidity profiles, the prevalence of prior infection and vaccination coverage, the authors of the study noted.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.