South Africa’s Drop in New COVID-19 Cases Could Indicate Omicron Peak Has Passed

In Summary

After hitting a high of almost 27,000 cases on Dec. 16, the numbers decreased to around 15,424 on Dec. 21.

South Africa has seen a significant decrease in new COVID-19 cases in recent days that could indicate that the country’s omicron-driven surge has passed its peak, according to the Associated Press

The country has been on the forefront of the omicron wave and the rest of the world is wondering how it could play out to look ahead on what could happen. 

RELATED: Omicron COVID-19 Variant Found in Europe Before Reaching South Africa

After going to a high of almost 27,000 cases on Dec. 16, the numbers went down to about 15,424 on Dec. 21, which is almost 12,000 cases dropped, according to the Associated Press.  

In South Africa’s most populous province of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, the drop in cases began earlier and has continued. 

“The drop in new cases nationally combined with the sustained drop in new cases seen here in Gauteng province, which for weeks has been the center of this wave, indicates that we are past the peak,” Marta Nunes, senior researcher at the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics department of the University of Witwatersrand, said to the Associated Press. 

RELATED: White House Will Lift Travel Bans Against 8 African Nations

The omicron variant is significantly more transmissible as it dominated South Africa. According to the Associated Press, an estimated 90% of cases in Gauteng since the middle of November have been omicron. 

“It was a short wave … and the good news is that it was not very severe in terms of hospitalizations and deaths,” Nunes said. It is “not unexpected in epidemiology that a very steep increase, like what we saw in November, is followed by a steep decrease.” 

In the United States, 73% of new infections last week have been omicron. 

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