State of Affairs: May 2

Once again, many eyes are on South Africa. After a massive BA.1 wave and no BA.2 wave, BA.4 and BA.5 are taking hold while they move into the winter season. In the past two weeks, cases have increased 173% and test positivity rate is high (20%). Hospital admissions have also started increasing. Gauteng—the epicenter (once again)—has seen a 63% increase in hospitalizations in the past week, but thankfully started off at a very low baseline. While it’s still early to draw conclusions about the severity of the resurgence, positive signals are coming from hospitalization data: 23% of admissions are for severe disease with BA.4/5 infection (vs. 34% with BA.1 and 64% with Delta). Case fatality rates also remain low compared to previous waves.

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