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South African scientist announces end of peak of coronavirus infections

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Denis Farrell/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

South Africa

A South African expert announced on Tuesday that the country had passed the peak of the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.

Associate Professor Marta Nunes added that although the number of infections remained high, hospitalisations were low.

Scientists in South Africa first sounded the alarm about the Omicron variant less than a month ago.

"Well I think it indicates that we have passed the peak of the fourth wave, so I think it was a short wave that, we predicted that when we start seeing really the huge amount of cases, so the, was a very steep increase from baseline to the first week, you know the last week of November we were really seeing a lot of cases. So we predicted it that this wave was going to be quite narrow and I think that's what we are seeing, the decrease in cases" said the University of the Witwatersrand academic.

Although average new daily cases of Covid-19 have been surging since mid-November, severity and hospitalisations did not follow the same trajectory.

"We see a huge number of infections but when we look at the hospitalisations and other severity markers for disease we don't really see that much severe cases with omicron, so I think it's really telling us good news that was not that very severe because the peak has already passed on", assures Prof. Marta Nunes.

In Europe, the World Health Organization’s top official urged governments on Tuesday to prepare for a “significant surge” in coronavirus cases across the continent due to the omicron variant, which is already dominant in several countries.

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