Renowned epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, says he expects that the number of daily COVID-19 cases will soon rise to over 10 000.
The new COVID-19 Omicron variant is said to be far more transmissible, compared to previous variants.
More than 2 800 COVID-19 cases were recorded across the country on Sunday, with six deaths.
The majority of new infections, over 2 300 were recorded in Gauteng.
Karim was speaking during a media briefing on the country’s state of readiness to respond to the rise in infections.
“We can expect that higher transmissibility is likely. So, we are going to get more cases and we are already seeing more evidence of this. I am expecting we will see more than 10 000 cases by the end of the week per day.”
“We will see more pressure on hospitals over the next few weeks and even Omicron is not worse but certainly there are no red flags just yet. But we don’t know for sure, we are still going to see this in all likelihood because of the liquidity of transmission,” explains Karim.
The video is the health department live stream:
Karim has warned that breakthrough COVID-19 infections are likely – amid the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
However, vaccinated people are less prone to experience severe symptoms.
The new variant was detected by South African scientists last week – and is spreading across several countries.
He says the vaccines currently being administered are still expected to provide protection against severe disease, hospitalisation or COVID-19 related deaths.
“Based on what we know and based on the other variants of concern which have reacted to vaccine immunity, we can expect that we will still see high effectiveness from hospitalisation and severe disease. That protection of the vaccines is likely to remain strong.”
“So we don’t know this definitively as the studies are being done but based on what we know we can expect that this is the likely scenario. The vaccines should hold well in terms of preventing hospitalisations and severe disease as they depend on T-Cell immunity and less on antibodies,” adds Professor.
Below is the COVID-19 stats in South Africa: