Daily Beast: The “highly transmissible” Omicron variant of coronavirus ripping through South Africa is putting disproportionately large numbers of children under 5 years old in hospitals, a top South African government medical adviser said Friday.
The alarming development raises the prospect of a new global battle cycle against the virus, given that the new variant has already spread to dozens of countries. The South African scientists also said the new variant was spreading much quicker than any previous wave of the coronavirus.
⚠️KIDS HOSPITALIZATIONS—The “highly transmissible” #Omicron variant is putting disproportionately large numbers of children under the age of 5 years old in hospitals, a top South African government medical adviser said Friday. #COVID19 🧵 https://t.co/ZdYaN19oFr pic.twitter.com/8aaleyNnUf
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) December 3, 2021
In a worrying virtual press conference, government adviser Waasila Jassat, speaking about the worst-affected area of Gauteng province (which includes the city of Johannesburg), said: “It’s clear in Gauteng, the week-on-week increase we’re seeing in cases and admissions is higher than we’ve seen it before. We’ve seen quite a sharp increase [in hospital admissions] across all age groups but particularly in the under 5s.”
She added: “The incidence in those under 5 is now second highest, second only to those over 60. The trend that we’re seeing now, that is different to what we’ve seen before, is a particular increase in hospital admissions in children under 5 years.
She said, for example, that in the city of Tshwane Metro, more than 100 children under the age of 5 were admitted to hospitals with COVID in the first two weeks of the new fourth wave (Nov. 14 to 27). In the first two weeks of the country’s third wave, in May of this year, fewer than 20 children were admitted to hospitals.
Hospitalisations in South Africa by age groups:
Left: before omicron
Extremaly dangerous for children 🙁 pic.twitter.com/v5j0qxxmMP
— Jirka001🇨🇿🇵🇱🇭🇺🇸🇰🇦🇲 ❌🇪🇺🇹🇷❌ (@Jirka0011) December 1, 2021
Jassat produced graphs that clearly showed how children under 5 years old are now being hospitalized at an alarming rate.