New virus variant may be cause of higher death rate


A study released by the National Institute of Communicable Disease’s (NICD’s) found that the new coronavirus variant detected in SA late in 2020 may be one reason for the higher death rates among patients hospitalised with COVID-19 during the country’s second wave of infections. Analysis of records from 627 public and private hospitals found the in-hospital case fatality rate had peaked at 29.1% during the second wave, compared with 20.8% percent at the peak of the first wave, reported Business Day (12 March 2021)

Even after accounting for the increased admissions, and other factors such as different age profiles, the researchers still found a 20% increased risk of in-hospital mortality in the second wave, which “could possibly be related to the new variant”. The research has not yet been peer-reviewed.

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