NICD confirms 5,096 new Covid infections in SA on Tuesday
One in five people testing for coronavirus infections on Tuesday had a positive result, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ (NICD’s) Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said there were 5,096 new cases of Covid-19 in South Africa on Tuesday. This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,899,841. The increase represents a 20.9% positivity rate.
The National Department of Health on Tuesday reported another 41 deaths due to Covid-19 related complications, of which 12 had occurred in the previous 24 hours.
The majority of new cases on Tuesday were from Gauteng (36%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (19%), the Western Cape (18%) and the Eastern Cape (11%).
The latest genomic surveillance report, tracing variants and subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa, states that Omicron still dominates, with sublineages BA.4 and BA.5 increasing in prevalence in March (16%), and together they were dominant in April (64%).
BA.4 and BA.5 made up 96% of May sequences, but more data is needed to determine the prevalence. BA.3 continues to be detected at low levels.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Sisonke team, led by professors Glenda Gray and Linda-Gail Bekker, published one of the first real-world studies on vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant in the New England Journal of Medicine on 4 May.
The Sisonke study made the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available early to health workers in South Africa – both for a first dose and for a booster dose.
The study found that a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine protected participants from hospitalisation and admission to intensive care units by up to 82% in the first two months after the second dose, compared with unvaccinated populations.
This analysis was possible after 240,000 Sisonke study participants received their second Johnson & Johnson vaccine in November and December 2021, when the Omicron variant caused the fourth wave in South Africa.
Gray, the lead author of the study, said: “The Sisonke study has contributed globally to data on both safety and effectiveness even against current variants of concern, and forms the backbone of the roll-out of the vaccine.”
Bekker said: “There is great utility of a single dose of the J&J vaccine in emergency situations, but it is very reassuring in this study to see two doses of J&J [performing] equally well [as] two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and that once again our vaccines are protecting, despite the Omicron variant.” DM/MC
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