Even though total cases across South Africa are still relatively low, health authorities are seeing a definite pattern in the people who are arriving in the hospital with serious illness: They're younger and largely not fully vaccinated. "We're seeing a marked change in the demographic profile of patients with COVID-19," Rudo Mathivha, head of the intensive care unit at Soweto's Baragwanath Hospital, said at an online press briefing. "Young people, in their 20s to just over their late 30s, are coming in with moderate to severe disease, some needing intensive care. About 65 percent are not vaccinated and most of the rest are only half-vaccinated."
"It may be it's highly transmissible, but so far the cases we are seeing are extremely mild," Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told The Guardian on Friday. "Maybe two weeks from now I will have a different opinion, but this is what we are seeing."
The head of the South African Medical Association told the BBC that the cases found so far in South Africa - where only about 24% of the population is fully vaccinated - were not severe, but said investigations into the variant were still at a very early stage.
"The patients are mostly complaining about a sore body and tiredness, extreme tiredness and we see it in the younger generation, it's not the older people... We're not talking about patients that might go straight to a hospital and be admitted," Dr Angelique Coetzee said.
C&Ping is a pain the ass from that site so read down. Reported symptoms are primarily fatigue, soreness and slight cough in unvaccinated, younger populations. Also, hospitals are not being filled or overwhelmed with omicron cases.
Take a deep breath, everyone. It's going to be OK.