South Africa: Fourth Wave of Covid Shows Higher Number of Cases - But Fewer Deaths

South African life insurers reported a significant drop in death claims for the six months to the end of March 2022, compared with previous six-monthly reporting periods since the start of the pandemic.

Although the fourth Covid wave, which peaked in December 2021, claimed a higher incidence rate with more Omicron cases, the death rates appear to have dropped.

Cases were milder with fewer deaths, largely on the back of improved vaccination rates. Slightly more than 37 million vaccines have been administered, according to the SA coronavirus home page.

Towards the end of last year, Discovery Health partnered with the South African Medical Research Council to conduct a study looking at the efficacy of vaccines against the Omicron variant. Discovery found that although incidences of Covid were higher, they were less severe with fewer hospital admissions.

The analysis also showed that people who had received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had 70% protection against hospitalisation. While this protection was reduced from the highs of 93% in South Africa's Delta-driven variant, 70% is still regarded as very good protection, said Ryan Noach, chief executive of Discovery Health.

South African life insurers reported a significant drop in death claims for the...

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