Omicron symptoms ‘far milder,’ Netcare CEO says

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Netcare, which operates the largest private health-care network in South Africa, is seeing milder Covid-19 cases even as as omicron is driving up the number of people testing positive for the virus.

The symptoms displayed by patients in Netcare’s hospitals in the epicenter of the current fourth wave, the province of Gauteng, “are far milder than anything we experienced during the first three waves,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Friedland said in a statement Wednesday. About 90% of Covid-19 patients currently in Netcare hospitals need no oxygen therapy and are considered incidental cases, he said.

During the first three waves, the rate of hospital admissions rose in tandem with the rate of community transmission and this may now be decoupling, he said.

“While we fully recognise that it is still early days, if this trend continues, it would appear that with a few exceptions of those requiring tertiary care, the fourth wave can be adequately treated at a primary care level,” Friedland said.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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