South Africa saw a drop in daily Covid incidences by 10% over the past week, and hospitalisations declined for only the second time since Omicron’s first emergence.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported that 24,785 new cases had been recorded within the past 24 hours. This is an increase of 11 percent from last Thursday. 

This is the second-smallest weekly increase since South African physicians raised concerns about this variant on November 24, 2004. The number of cases rose just 5% over the past week.

The NICD data shows there were 347 admissions today, down almost a quarter from 507 a week ago. Since November 27, admissions have fallen for the first time in a week. Only 36 Covid deaths today were recorded, as opposed to 22 the previous Thursday.

Although scientists caution against reading too much into one day’s data, there is increasing evidence that South Africa’s Omicron crisis might not be expanding exponentially any longer and could have reached its peak.

A promising sign was the decrease in infection rates in ground zero Gauteng in just one week. The province saw 6,744 positive test results. 

South Africa has a public holiday today, possibly contributing to the lower incidence and higher hospital visits. However, today’s test results were only slightly lower than yesterday.

Scientists in South Africa have claimed for several weeks that super-mutant strain is more mild than other variants. They are calling on Britain and the rest of the world to not react too strongly to it.

Professor Chris Whitty, however, warned against making any comparisons. He stated that South Africa is too young to be used as an indicator of the UK’s outbreak.

Daily Covid cases in South Africa have risen 10 per cent in a week today. But the country is currently enjoying a public holiday, which likely skewed the figures

Today’s Daily Covid cases have increased by 10% in South Africa. However, the country is on a national holiday which may have affected the data.

Hospitalisations in the country fell 23.4 per cent in a week today after another 374 people were admitted. But this could also be down to the holiday, with fewer people available to process data

After another 374 admissions, hospitalisations fell by 23.4 percent in the week to today. This could be due to holiday-related reasons, as there are fewer data processors available.

The NICD data indicates that the 7-day average of daily infections in Gauteng has also fallen, which could be a warning sign that it may have reached its peak. 

The province — also home to the country’s largest city Gauteng — is now recording an average of 9,235 daily infections a day, dipping from 9,645 a week ago.

Delta’s ultra-infectious variant is found to replicate in Delta’s airways up to 70 times faster than Delta, according to a study 

According to research, the Omicron variant multiplies in airways 70 times faster that Delta.

Researchers at Hong Kong University also discovered that the new version replicates in the lungs 10 times faster than the predecessors.

This discovery may help explain the rapid spread of the mutant virus. It also supports the hypothesis that it is less severe than previous variants. Doctors in South Africa claim this for several weeks.

Researchers exposed lung tissue in a lab to the original Covid strain, which was discovered in Wuhan last January, in order to see how they behave following infection.

Omicron replicated faster in the bronchus — tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs — suggesting people with the strain may be more infectious.

Persons who have higher viral loads in the throat are more likely than others to exhale viral particles.

Delta replication was much more rapid in the lungs where it can cause the most severe disease.

This finding could be an indication that doctors believe the strain causes only cold-like symptoms in people who are infected.

The slowdown in the growth of cases in neighboring Limpopo province may also be a sign. They were at an average 872 per day, up 52 percent in one week. However, they were increasing by 250% per 24 hours last week.

South Africa has not published an accurate breakdown of regional swabs, so it is impossible to know if the drop in cases could be due to lower testing. 

However, cases are slowing down for several days. This is a signal that the drop in incidences may be real and not due to the amount of sweeps performed.

The latest figures show that 80,304 swipes were conducted in the nation within the past 24 hours. This is an increase of 6.7% over the week before.

But the positivity rate — the proportion of swabs that detect the virus — dipped slightly to 30.9 per cent.

These figures may have been affected by the Day of Reconciliation, a South African public holiday.

South Africans should take this day off in order to promote national unity. 

The Government has not posted any messages warning people to avoid mixing today. Cyril Ramaphosa gave a speech in which he also mentioned the pandemic. However, he did not recommend that people stay at home because of the Omicron variant. 

Because fewer people have the ability to take positive blood draws and admits, public holidays tend to lead to lower daily hospitalizations and deaths in the UK. 

Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer of England downplayed South African reports that Omicron can trigger milder disease. Instead, he said lower hospitalization rates could be expected as more people are now immune to the virus than at Delta’s inception.

The nation heard from him: ‘I think there has been some commentary about the fact South African doctors and scientists… indicated that there might be some reduction of hospitalization rates they see with Omicron. 

“I am putting a serious cautionary on this, because it seems that the meaning has been misunderstood.

According to the report, the amount of immunity this wave received due to prior Delta waves and vaccinations is significantly higher than that of their previous wave. This explains why this time they are hospitalized at a much lower rate.

‘That doesn’t mean there is some degree of milder disease — that is possible — but I think there is a danger that people have overinterpreted this to say this is not a problem and there’s nothing to worry about. 

“I am sorry, this is going to cause a problem,”

MailOnline was told by experts that the decrease in Covid cases, while encouraging as it indicates Omicron has stopped spreading there exponentially, is still within the bounds of error.

Omicron was first discovered in South Africa late November. The Omicron explosion sent Omicron cases spiralling into Gauteng.

But the nation’s Government did not impose any new restrictions keeping the country on lockdown alert level one — which requires face masks to be worn in most public places. A curfew is in effect from midnight to 4am and masses are restricted to 750 indoors and 2000 outdoors.

The government did however increase the number of vaccinations. Our World in Data reports that 25% of South Africans are currently double-jabbed. But, many more people have immunity to the virus because they were infected with it in the past.

Robert Dingwall is a former member NERVTAG, JCVI and JCVI panels. He expects that the super-infectious strain to infect as many Britons as possible, creating a crisis of work absence. He predicted it wouldn’t infect the NHS, contrary to dire warnings by No10 scientists.

MailOnline was informed by Professor Dingwall that South African experts are telling him we have overreacted and this virus is milder.

British scientists were infuriated by his comments. He added that the best South African scientists could be just as effective as anyone anywhere.