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South Africa’s omicron surge may be slowing


A patient gets tested for COVID-19 near Johannesburg. Associated Press/Photo by Denis Farrell, file

South Africa’s omicron surge may be slowing

After hitting a peak of nearly 27,000 new COVID-19 cases late last week, the country’s daily infections on Tuesday fell below 15,500. South Africa experienced the leading edge of a coronavirus spike fueled by the omicron variant. Health officials caution that daily case rates can be unreliable due to testing variability, but the drop could suggest some reprieve from omicron after the initial surge.

How is the battle against omicron going? Though the variant seems to cause milder illness, hospitalization rates are still rising and some U.S. hospitals are battling staffing shortages. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the use of a pill created by Pfizer to treat COVID-19. The drug’s maker says it reduced hospitalization and death by nearly 90 percent in people who were most likely to get severely ill from the coronavirus. And U.S. Army scientists have also reportedly developed a vaccine that appears to be effective against all variants of COVID-19, as well as other SARS-origin viruses.

Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast about the omicron variant.


Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is a former assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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