Omicron: Gauteng cases, hospital and ICU patients ‘LOWER than forecast’

Projections from Gauteng are balanced on a knife-edge, but there are some preliminary signs that areas ravaged by Omicron can avoid anything resembling a total healthcare collapse. That’s because several key figures are actually below what was forecast earlier – just as cases are, ALLEGEDLY, starting to plateau.

Omicron in Gauteng: Projections bring good news… for now

University of Johannesburg research associate Pieter Streicher has been using NICD data to produce models of how the Omicron wave is behaving across South Africa. But for now, he’s focusing solely on Gauteng.

The province has had the eyes of the world watching on recently, after it was dubbed ‘the Omicron epicentre’. The first outbreak of cases linked to the variant was traced back to Gauteng, which has seen infections skyrocket.

Cases, hospitalisations, ICU beds ‘running under projected totals’

However, despite large rises in new cases over the past few weeks, hospitalisations, ICU admissions, and death rates haven’t followed the same dramatic trajectory. Some of these metrics have started to increase noticeably, but they aren’t mirroring the case growth rate. According to Streicher…

New daily cases in Gauteng, though reported erratically over the weekend, remain below-projection.
The same goes for hospitalisations and death rates, and ICU beds are also ‘under-occupied’
The use of ventilation/oxygen is about where the experts predicted it would be.
Streicher’s model, somewhat bravely, also predicts that Gauteng cases are now ‘plateauing before peaking’.
That would mean figures for hospitalisations and deaths could only rise for another two-to-three weeks.

Four projection graphs which compare the possible extent of Omicron to the impact of Delta – Photo: Pieter Streicher / Twitter

Is Omicron starting to peak yet?

Projections aren’t always smooth sailing, and thanks to the recent technical issues that have plagued the NICD, things could still go awry for those trying to map the potential direction of the Omicron wave.

Nonetheless, the data presented by Streicher points towards possible progress in Gauteng:

“All projections are reasonable. Cases, hospital admissions, and ICU beds are all running below projections. Ventilated beds are spot on. Gauteng, in all likelihood, has peaked already.”

“That’s because seven-day cases (by specimen date) should show a peak between 9-13 December, but this can only be calculated four days later. However, cases by reporting date are erratic due to delays.”

Pieter Streicher

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Gauteng #Omicron projections – 13 December update.

I have added 7d avg cases by specimen date (blue circles) – (source: Louis Rossouw).

All projections are reasonable. Cases, hospital and ICU beds are all running below projections. Ventilated beds are spot on. pic.twitter.com/VDvCGuzf15

— pieterstreicher (@pieterstreicher) December 13, 2021

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