Researchers from the Medical Research Council of South Africa have published a first partial summary of their studies on the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. According to the scientists, the virus mutation could be more contagious but less severe. However, it will take a few more weeks for a definitive pronouncement. In Gauteng province, the researchers noted “the absence of a significant increase in hospital deaths in relation to the increase in the rate of cases.” But the study warns: the discrepancy could be due “to the usual delay that occurs between cases and deaths.” Regarding transmissibility, the study notes that both “the high percentage of adult patients” and “the increase in positive hospitalizations among children between 0 and 9 years”, may reflect on “higher rates of transmission than to the previous variants “. These, however, do not translate (at least for now) into higher hospitalization rates.
Cover image: EPA / REMKO DE WAAL