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Doctor Says COVID Cases Have Started Dropping In South African Province Where Omicron First Hit

[Twitter John Berman]

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A doctor who has been treating patients in the Omicron epicenter told CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning cases have already begun to drop.

Chair of the South African Medical Association Dr. Angelique Coetzee explained how the province where it all began seems to be taking a turn for the better.

“We’re over the curve, cases are sort of coming down, in Gauteng, which was the epicenter, the numbers are much lower,” Coetzee said noting cases are still spreading elsewhere because of the holidays.

“If you look at our numbers, it’s going down. Our positivity rate still stays high, it’s around about 30%. There’s a lot of testing done,” she continued, noting it appears more people are choosing to get tested than get the vaccine when examining data since Dec. 9. “Our ICU cases, if we look at the cases yesterday … across 666 facilities in South Africa, was 87.” (RELATED: ‘A Matter Of When, Not If’: Fauci Says Definition Of Fully Vaccinated Will Change)

Gauteng is one of the nation’s most vaccinated areas of the nation, according to The New York Times (NYT). While South Africa has seen a large increase in new cases of Omicron since the beginning of the pandemic, cases have been rapidly dropping over recent days, according to the report. Between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15, data shows while there were 20,207 new infections of COVID-19, less than two-percent required hospitalization, according to the NYT.

“For the first time, there are more non-severe than severe patients in hospital,” Dr. Waasila Jassat, a researcher at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said, according to the NYT. “We have to interpret the less severity data in light of the high seroprevalence and some vaccination coverage.”

Data compiled by Wits University from Johns Hopkins University shows a decline in the daily increase of cases beginning Dec. 9 while the number of confirmed cases over a week has also declined. Data from South Africa’s Department of Health shows on Dec. 9 Gauteng had 1,028,854 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 83,248 active cases of the virus. As of Sunday, the province had 1,105,453 confirmed cases but just 55,549 active cases.

In Gauteng, approximately 70% of the population has antibodies, according to the report.

President Joe Biden issued travel restrictions against South Africa and seven other nations in November following the Omicron outbreak.