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December 22, 2021 7:11 am

South Africa Data, Study Suggest ‘Positive Story’ On Omicron Severity — Scientist

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A healthcare worker collects a swab from a passenger for a PCR test against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before traveling to Uganda, amidst the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, November 28, 2021. REUTERS/ Sumaya Hisham

A new South African study, along with data on hospitalizations and deaths in the country’s fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, suggest that the risk of severe disease is lower with Omicron than with previous variants, a top scientist said on Wednesday.

“In South Africa, this is the epidemiology: Omicron is behaving in a way that is less severe,” said Professor Cheryl Cohen of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), one of the authors of the new study.

“Compellingly, together our data really suggest a positive story of a reduced severity of Omicron compared to other variants,” she said during a news conference by a group of NICD scientists.

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