Pieter Streicher is a man putting his neck on the line. But his optimistic forecasts on the outcomes of the Omicron wave are also supported by SAMA, Netcare, Mediclinic, and other leading experts in South Africa. Streicher, however, is ready to go one step further – and he reckons no lockdown restrictions are required to manage the new variant.
Omicron ‘does not require’ further lockdown restrictions, says South African data modeller
Streicher’s latest COVID-19 model, published this weekend, shows that the spike in infections caused by Omicron has allegedlt peaked in Gauteng – a few days ahead of schedule.
The highly transmissible variant has been circulating in South Africa for the past five weeks, since the first case was found here in early November. Usually, after 14 to 21 days, high case rates are reflected by soaring hospital admissions and deaths. But, some 35 days since ‘patient zero’ was identified, the data has remained favourable.
Gauteng COVID-19 data: They think it’s all over…
Yes, hospitalisations are increasing at the moment – but that’s at a SLOWER rate than seen in any of our three previous waves of COVID-19. What is more, data supplied by the SAMRC suggests that most people in hospital with the virus were admitted for other reasons, suggesting that their diagnoses were merely incidental.
All of these indicators point to a very hopeful picture. The raw scientific data suggests the Gods *might* be with us on this occasion, but none of us are out of the woods yet – and the data shared by Streicher only reflects Gauteng.
Gauteng #Omicron projections – 12 December update:
Don’t read too much in the flatlining of hospital variables, this is a typical weekend effect.
All variables are running below projections, with ventilated beds exactly on the projection. pic.twitter.com/5sdaTVXxC7
— pieterstreicher (@pieterstreicher) December 12, 2021
Latest Omicron updates, Sunday 12 December: Doubts raised over possible lockdown restrictions
Omicron is spreading across the country. Other provinces and metros are yet to experience the peak of new variant infections. And, because COVID is still such a bastard, additional hospitalisations and deaths will be recovered.
However, Streicher’s numbers – taken from the NICD’s own database – suggest that NOWHERE in South Africa, or even the rest of the world, should anticipate a healthcare collapse under the weight of Omicron.
With that in mind, the modeller believes there is ‘no need’ to introduce any further lockdown restrictions.
“No restrictions will be needed to protect hospitals in any way, in any country. Gauteng… has peaked with case levels similar to Delta, but with deaths expected to be 25 times lower.”
“Gauteng cases have peaked already, and there is only a slight uptick in COVID-19 deaths. Total confirmed COVID-19 deaths from Omicron is estimated at 640 for this wave. There were, in comparison, 15 400 deaths from Delta.”
“Omicron remains extremely mild. The rest of the world has nothing to fear. And that’s also considering South Africa has high natural immunity levels (around 70%+) and low vaccination rates (about 38%).”