Doctors have warned that since the Omicron variant swept over South Africa, there has been an increase in hospitalizations among young children. However, they cautioned that it was too soon to tell if they were particularly vulnerable.
In the week since South Africa announced the new COVID-19 variety to the rest of the globe, illnesses have spread quicker than in the country’s prior three waves.
The initial cluster of cases was concentrated among university students, but it swiftly expanded among young people, who subsequently disseminated it to elderly people.
However, scientists and health officials reported an increase in hospital admissions in children under the age of five, as well as increased positive rates among youngsters aged ten to fourteen.
Wassila Jassat, from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, said: “We’ve seen quite a sharp increase across all age groups, particularly in the under fives,” referring to hospitalisations.
“The incidence in those under fives is now second-highest, and second only to the incidence in those over 60,” she told a news conference.
Several theories have been proposed by scientists. One is that in South Africa, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for immunizations. She claims that doctors have heard anecdotally that both children and parents who test positive have not been vaccinated.
Michelle Groome, the NICD’s chief of public health, said the virus was spreading faster than it had been at any other time during the pandemic in Gauteng, the province that includes Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.
“Preliminary data suggests Omicron is more transmissible and has some immune evasion,” she said.
According to South African specialists, Omicron reinfections were three times more prevalent than Delta or Beta strains.
Despite the fact that most patients are displaying lesser symptoms, Groome warned that major disease should not be expected for another two weeks.
On Thursday, the country had 11,535 new cases, with Gauteng being the epicenter.
That’s five times the number of cases recorded just a week ago, when South African experts announced the new variety to the globe.