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Bad News – Good News on the Covid-19 Front

Making an Informed Decision about Vaccination – What you need to know

A Vaccinated Industry is a Safe, Sustainable and Successful Industry

Globally, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is causing numbers in the UK, Canada and the US to rise very fast. The world reported more than 9.5 million cases just last week, which is a 71% increase compared to the previous week. Although the greatest increase is still in the Americas (+100%), every region in the world now has increasing case trends.

This has an added effect on numbers hospitalised.

"Omicron’s main threat is its extreme contagiousness. It is infecting so many people that even if a smaller proportion need hospital care, the absolute numbers are still enough to saturate the system.”

This surge “comes on the back of all the prior ones. COVID’s burden is additive. It isn’t reflected just in the number of occupied hospital beds, but also in the faltering resolve and thinning ranks of the people who attend those beds. The health-care system will continue to pay these costs long after COVID hospitalizations fall. Health-care workers will know, but most other people will be oblivious—until they need medical care and can’t get it."

Hospitals Are in Serious Trouble -The Atlantic, 7 January 2022

Omicron is inundating a health-care system that was already buckling under the cumulative toll of every previous surge.

Click HERE for article.

The largest numbers appear to be the unvaccinated individuals who are most badly effected by Omicron and needing hospitalisations and ICU treatment. What’s the outcome? Don't rupture your appendix or break a leg badly, have a heart attack or need cancer treatment. This is why elective, semi-emergency surgery or any hospital stays of any type in hospitals around the world are in short supply, including South Africa.

What’s the good news?

South Africa seems to have kept its caseload relatively low in this Fourth Wave of Covid-19 in comparison and seems to be passing the peak for Omicron. The death trend is still increasing, but this should be peaking soon, too. Deaths are currently 25% of the Delta wave. The epicenter—Gauteng— has reached a point in which all COVID19 indicators have peaked: Cases peaked at 90% of the Delta wave, hospitalizations peaked at 50%, and deaths peaked at 15%.

Read HERE for global comparison - State of Affairs: Jan 10 - Katelyn Jetelina

This may be the result of a number of factors:

  • South Africa suffered badly during the initial waves, including the very recent Delta peak, leaving more people with natural immunity on top of their vaccinations

  • Vaccination of the SA population, while slow, is building slowly

  • Omicron has a very slightly less severe affect than the preceding Delta variant.

Those who are double vaccinated and have suffered a previous case of covid (a large percentage of the population) are LEAST likely to suffer a severe form of Omicron and be hospitalised. Vaccination and developed immunity work.

  • The mask mandate implemented by the South Africa government is showing signs of success.

Despite complaints and unhappiness, it seems that mask use in SA is helping keep the viral load down to a manageable level in susceptible South Africans. Recent American tourists have even noted the careful compliance of even ordinary South Africans in using their masks properly and consistently, unlike the current mask-averse attitudes of so many in the US and in Canada also. Countries with mask mandates show lower caseloads overall compared to countries with no mask mandates.

Can South Africans come out of this pandemic ahead of the rest of the world with these simple protocols of vaccination, masking and sanitising? As Ms Jetelina says, projections are incredibly difficult for many reasons: the situation in other countries isn’t necessarily the situation we’ll see here, we’re learning about Omicron as we go, and projections don’t take into account human behaviour - even simple masking up or willingness to be vaccinated.

At the same time, continued infections in the unvaccinated individuals in the South African and global population is going to create an ongoing pool for variants to develop and the next variant may not be so forgiving. Until the majority of the global population is fully vaccinated and boosted, it will be difficult to get Covid-19 under control and no longer a risk both healthwise and economically.

If we can continue the spirit of working together in adversity in South Africa, prevention of more dangerous variants and the successful recovery of the economy from the pandemic, so critically necessary, is not far in the future.

Industry Vaccination: Safety, Sustainability and A Return to Normality


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