Omicron BA.4/5 subvariants cause fifth wave of infections in South Africa

Since the advent of the omicron phase of the COVID pandemic, new variants of SARS-CoV-2 have evolved into much more infectious versions without losing their inherent pathogenicity or virulence. They have also been shown to be able to evade the immunity provided by current mRNA COVID vaccines. Efficacy against symptomatic infections, even after revaccination, is short-lived and fleeting.

One of the clearest examples of this process, South Africa, is currently experiencing a fifth wave of COVID infections, with new BA.4 and BA.5 variants dominating. A recent population-based study of COVID seroprevalence (which looks at blood data from large populations rather than individuals) found that 97 percent of the population had significant antibodies, either from vaccination or previous infection. But the presence of these antibodies did not create a barrier to new infections.

It is understood that no combination of vaccination and prior infection can end the pandemic. The “herd immunity” that boosting antibody levels will reduce the population vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 to such a low level that the virus will die out due to lack of hosts is a myth.

In the face of statements by government officials and mainstream media that COVID-19 has become endemic, it would be more correct to say that the pandemic has become permanent.

There is growing evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is proving to be a well-adapted pathogen. It adapts to population immunity while maintaining its inherent virulence. The politically convenient idea that the coronavirus evolves into weaker versions, endlessly propagated by the corporate press, has turned out to be wrong.

Researchers examined the estimated prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in South Africa in March 2022. The same researchers recently stated at a press conference: “The infection pressure of the Omicron variant was extremely high for such a significant increase in prevalence during this period. relatively mature stage of the epidemic. It is hardly possible to imagine much higher prevalence values.”

South Africa has been the hardest hit country on the African continent with more than 101,000 deaths from COVID-19. However, a recent World Health Organization study of excess deaths from January 2020 to December 2021 found that excess deaths in South Africa exceeded 239,000.

Since the new year, another 10,000 deaths from COVID have been reported, which means the number of excess deaths is likely to be over a quarter of a million for this country of nearly 60 million people. The per capita COVID death toll in South Africa is therefore one in 240, higher even in the United States, where the rate is one in 330.

The nature of the evolution of these options is critical to understanding the course of a pandemic in its third year.

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