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08 Dec 2021 | 16:32

Netcare CEO says Covid-19 cases in SA much milder so far

(Sharecast News) - Symptoms among those ill from Covid-19 during the current wave caused by the new variant Omicron are far milder than in previous waves, the head of South Africa's largest private health-care group said. The chief executive officer of Netcare, Richard Friedland, said that of the 337 Covid-19 patients admitted, roughly one tenth were on some form of oxygenation.

During the previous three waves of Covid-19, 100% had received oxygenation, he added.

Furthermore, the rate of increase in hospital admissions may now be "decoupling" from the rate of community transmission, unlike what occurred during the preceding three waves.

Nonetheless, Friedland conceded that the relatively low hospital admission rate could be the result of the very rapid rise community transmission relative to previous waves.

Of the 800 patients admitted by Netcare over the preceding three weeks, three quarters of them were unvaccinated. Four patients had died, of which three were unvaccinated and all had "significant comorbidities".

Friedland also said that patients being admitted to hospital since 15 November were generally younger than in previous waves.

More than 71% were less than 50 years old with an average age of 38.5 years, against just 40% below 50 in the first three waves, when the average age was 54 years.

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