Omicron-stricken South Africa may be glimpse into the future

The newest COVID-19 variant — omicron — has the world on edge as researchers look into how harmful, and contagious, the variant is. South Africa researchers are at the forefront, as the first ones to identify the new variant.


World News

December 3, 2021 - 2:19 PM

Matt Shoemaker of the University of Kansas Health System is urging patience as health officials analyze the omicron variant of COVID-19. Photo by Screengrab of KU Health Systems Facebook

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Dr. Sikhulile Moyo was analyzing COVID-19 samples in his lab in Botswana last week when he noticed they looked startlingly different from others. 

Within days, the world was ablaze with the news  that the coronavirus had a new variant of concern — one that appears to be driving a dramatic surge in South Africa and offering a glimpse of where the pandemic  might be headed.

New COVID-19 cases in South Africa have burgeoned from about 200 a day in mid-November to more than 16,000 on Friday. Omicron was detected over a week ago in the country’s most populous province, Gauteng, and has since spread to all eight other provinces, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said.

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