COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates: Thursday / Friday, Dec. 9-10

Mostly for the closing line…


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South African scientists see no sign that the Omicron coronavirus variant is causing more severe illness, they said on Friday, as officials announced plans to roll out vaccine boosters with daily infections approaching an all-time high…

Hospital data show that COVID-19 admissions are now rising sharply in more than half of the country’s nine provinces, but deaths are not rising as dramatically and indicators such as the median length of hospital stay are reassuring…

South Africa reported more than 22,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a record during the current fourth wave of infections driven by Omicron but still below a peak of more than 26,000 daily cases during a third wave fuelled by the Delta variant.

It has fully vaccinated about 38% of adults, more than in many other African countries but well short of the government’s year-end target. It recently delayed some vaccine deliveries due to oversupply as the pace of inoculations slowed…

Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council, said there were far more unvaccinated people among South Africa’s hospital admissions and the evidence was that the Pfizer vaccine was still offering protection.

“We are seeing that this vaccine is maintaining effectiveness. It may be slightly reduced, but we are seeing effectiveness being maintained for hospital admissions and that is very encouraging,” she said.

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