(ORDO NEWS) — It is 12 times the official death rate from coronavirus in South Africa. This information runs counter to the previously expressed estimates of the “softness” of the omicron-strain and indicates that soon the world and Russia will face a similar increase in mortality.
Immediately after the identification of the omicron strain in the second half of November, many doctors and representatives of the South African authorities stated that the disease was milder with it than with the delta strain.A similar position, albeit with caution, was taken by the head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Anthony Fauci.
Scientists and doctors of Russian origin working in the United States did not stay away from this trend: Konstantin Chumakov from the same FDA even called the new strain a “live vaccine” – something that everyone will get sick with, but without dangerous consequences, but they will get immunity from coronavirus. There have been ideas that the death rate with the new strain could drop to “roughly equal to the flu” and this would mean the actual end of a debilitating pandemic.
However, as Naked Science already wrote , some facts pointed to the weakness of such ideas. First, even according to official statistics, 174 people in South Africa were still dying from Covid-19 in, for example, the period from November 28 to December 4.
The share of the omicron strain there this week was already equal to 100%, that is, it was not necessary to say that there were no deaths from the new variant of the virus. Secondly, South Africa in the 1990s experienced understandable processes of degradation of a number of public institutions, including medicine (something similar happened in the same years in Russia, but for other understandable reasons). As a result, his healthcare system (on the graph) is not the best in the world in terms of quality. The completeness of recording coronavirus deaths in countries with problematic health care is low.
Therefore, the data output on excess mortality in South Africa for November 28 – December 4 is of great importance: it allows you to estimate the real number of victims of “omicron”, regardless of the inability of South African medicine to accurately diagnose the cause of death of such people. It turned out that 2076 more people died in South Africa during this 48th week of the year than on the same dates in other years. This means an increase in mortality by 21.9% of the norm.
The official report on local statistics tried to use a trick of obscuring the numbers. They said that a statistically significant part of excess mortality increased by 16.11%, and in this form they transferred information on the level of excess mortality to international organizations and companies that keep records. However, other countries do not use such “accounting optimization” methods, therefore, for comparative purposes, such an adjustment is incorrect.
Two thousand excess deaths a month is the maximum for South Africa since September this year. It is especially important that the omicron epidemic is still in its very early stages there, since it appeared in noticeable quantities only in November. Although so far the excess mortality rate of 21.9% does not look very bad, in the very near future, these numbers may multiply.
In total, since the beginning of the epidemic, there have already been 276 thousand excess deaths in the republic. In the summer of 2020, there was an outbreak of the original “Wuhan coronavirus”, in the winter of 2020-2021 – the South African strain of “beta”, this summer – “delta”, and now – “omicron”.
Interestingly, the South African official death rate from coronavirus for the period from November 28 to December 4 was only 174 people – 12 times less than the number of excess deaths. This means that the level of underestimation of the official coronavirus mortality in this country is so great that it makes sense to rely only on data on total mortality.
Earlier, the Russian authorities (Minister of Health Murashko) noted that during the epidemic, all excess mortality is coronavirus. Complications caused by Covid-19 lead to a sharp increase in the incidence of heart attacks and strokes, even in those who suffered from it asymptomatically (and did not know about it himself until he underwent a PCR test after being hospitalized “to heart”).
At the end of November in Russia, excess mortality during the epidemic amounted to 984 thousand people – four times higher than in South Africa. Our country had
116,000 excess deaths this month , a record higher than any monthly excess death rate since May 1945.
It is known that omicron infects vaccinated and recovered with other variants of the coronavirus much more effectively than any of its predecessor strain. Based on the rate of increase in excess deaths in South Africa and given that the omicron has already come to us, it cannot be ruled out that Russia will soon overlap the historical record of excess deaths in November 2021.
There are no effective means of countering the omicron yet: although the Gamaleya Research Center has created a version of Sputnik specialized for the omicron, the need for testing it (it takes many weeks) means that this vaccine will not be widely applied before spring.
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