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The highly mutated variant of Covid-19, Omicron is causing havoc across South Africa due to its characteristics of being transmissible. Wednesday witnessed the highest Covid cases since the spread in South Africa. However, Dr. Michelle Groome from the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases) stated that the hospitalization of Omicron-affected patients is not so much as the surge in cases. 

Dr. Groome further stated that “We are starting to see some increases, but relatively small increases in deaths”. To support her statement, Dr. Wassila Jassat from NICD said that the total number of Covid patients with an oxygen demand is lower in comparison to the patients affected in the earlier covid waves. She added that if the patients do stay on oxygen, it is for a shorter period. 

Joe Phaahla, Health Minister of South Africa said that even though the new variant of covid is not causing as high damage as the earlier ones, it does not mean it is any less virulent. It is rather the vaccines that are preventing serious illness in patients, especially among older patients. 

Scientists, however, still remain uncertain of how dangerous the Omicron variant will be, the data suggests that it is more communicable than the Delta variant and more resistant to the vaccines. In the wake of the covid threat, the Health Ministers of G7 nations called for international cooperation to battle the Omicron threat which they call the “biggest threat to public health globally”. 

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