People queue for a PCR Covid-19 test at the Lancet laboratory in Johannesburg on November 30, 2021. (Photo by EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 10:10 AM PT – Thursday, December 23, 2021
A recent study from South Africa has suggested individuals infected with the Omicron variant face fewer risks of severe illness or hospitalization. The study released on Wednesday, found people in South Africa who were infected with Omicron between October and November, were 80 percent less likely to experience severe symptoms than those infected with other variants.
During an interview on Wednesday, Dr. Tulio de Oliveira, who was one of the first scientists in South Africa to notify the World Health Organization (WHO) of Omicron, said the country is seeing fewer hospitalizations among children.
“At the moment, it’s difficult to tease if the rate of hospitalization of children in the beginning is due to the sheer number of infections in the younger population or if it is because it causes more severe disease. But one thing that we see is that the younger population presenting to the hospital is decreasing over time, especially in the last few days,” said de Oliveira.
However, when asked if he believes if South Africa is past the peak of infection, de Oliveira stressed it’s too soon to determine. Additionally, he emphasized how travel bans are ineffective and won’t help curb the spread.