A rampantly spreading new variant of Covid-19 has been identified in South Africa. The new variant which makes “young and healthy people severely ill” has become the most common in the country’s second wave.
During a Friday night briefing, South Africa’s Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize announced the new variant.
The New Variant
Notably, the new variant, first detected in the Eastern Cape, binds more easily to human body receptors. Also, it has three mutations, an abnormally high number for a new variant.
De Oliveira, from the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), says that this new variant is more dominant than the other variants. According to him, the new variant has singly dominated 90 percent of the second wave cases. On the other hand, about three or four variants accounted for about 40 percent only of the first wave infections.
Oliveira added that the origin of the new variant is yet to be established. The variant started spreading in Nelson Mandela Bay, then moved to the Garden route, and now accounts for 88 percent of samples in the Western Cape and Guateng.
Few cases have been reported in other provinces. However, the transmission pattern is still the same in these provinces.
It is yet to be ascertained if persons with the other variants can also contract the new variant.
Warning to Young South Africans.
Mkhize highlighted that clinicians had reported a shift in the clinical picture. Young people with no comorbidities are presenting severe illness. The minister added that the young should not only look out for other people, but they now ought to think about themselves. He warned that the young are now also at risk of dying.
Mkhize further echoed a warning to the youths to refrain from not wearing masks, playing kissing games, and partying. He urged the youths to adhere to the safety precautions during the ongoing disaster.
No need to panic
Abdool Karim, the ministerial advisory committee on the coronavirus co-chair, said they had not seen any red flags looking at their death toll. He stated there was no need to change strategies of treatment, diagnostics, and non-pharmaceutical interventions.
Mkhize reaffirmed by saying the strategies for sanitizing, wearing masks, and social distancing will still be effective in preventing the spread of the new variant.
As of Thursday night, South Africa had recorded a cumulative total of 892813 Covid-19 cases, with 9131 new cases. Consequently, South Africa is the country with the most cases in Africa. Also, 184 deaths were recorded, raising the country’s death toll to 24 011.
The data clearly indicates that the country is experiencing its second wave of the virus.
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