SA records highest positivity rate yet of Covid-19 fifth wave
SA’s daily Covid-19 test positivity rate rose to its highest level yet on Wednesday amid the fifth wave of infections.
There were 6,170 new Covid-19 cases identified, representing a 22.6% positivity rate of those tested, with the majority of the cases in Gauteng at 41%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 27%, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on its website.
SA is still a long way off previous records. The largest daily count for new cases was 26,976, reached on December 15 and the highest positivity rate was 33.4%, reported on January 4. But the fifth wave comes as winter starts and just after the country ended its more than two-year national state of disaster.
While the state of disaster has ended, the government has implemented new health legislation that will require proof of vaccination or negative tests for some gatherings and the continued wearing of masks in indoor spaces.
It is possible the fifth wave will be the least onerous so far. The new Omicron sublineages appear to be less severe than the original and the fifth wave is unlikely to cause “even anything close” to the number of hospitalisations and deaths that occurred when Omicron first appeared in November, according to Prof Shabir Madhi, a vaccinologist from the University of the Witwatersrand.
Nonetheless, health experts and the government are urging citizens to get vaccinated, receive their boosters and continue taking precautions.
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