Dr. Angelique Coetzee explained she first learned of the possibility of another variant when patients in her private practice in Pretoria came in earlier in the month with coronavirus symptoms that failed to make immediate sense.
Patients included young people of multiple backgrounds and ethnicities with severe fatigue and also a six-year-old suffering from a high pulse rate, she told the outlet.
However, none of them experienced a loss of taste or smell.
“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” Dr. Coetzee, a GP for the past 33 years who also chairs the South African Medical Association, stated.
When four family members tested positive recently for the coronavirus experiencing total exhaustion, she told the country’s vaccine advisory committee about the case.
She explained that approximately two dozen of her patients tested positive for the coronavirus along with symptoms of the latest variant. The patients were mostly healthy men who arrived “feeling so tired.”
Approximately half of that group was reportedly unvaccinated.
“We had one very interesting case, a kid, about six years old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her. But when I followed up two days later, she was so much better,” Dr Coetzee recalled.
Concerned scientists in South Africa are working to combat the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant as the entire world grapples with its appearance, the Associated Press (AP) reported Saturday.
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— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 28, 2021
But the country’s number of cases was still relatively low.
Dr. Coetzee clarified her patients were healthy and she was concerned the variant might hit the elderly, those with co-morbidities such as diabetes or heart disease, worse.
“What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe [form of the] disease,” she noted.
The Economic Times reported Sunday:
But it is far too early to assume that the variant will not cause severe illness, too, warned Dr. Richard Lessells, who coordinates clinical and epidemiological data for the South African COVID Variant Research Consortium.
Many of the early infections in South Africa were spotted among younger people more likely to experience mild illness, he said. The picture may change as the virus spreads through the larger population.
National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins said recently the omicron variant was a “great reason for people in the United States to get their booster shot.”
Collins noted that, “The booster basically enlarges the capacity of your immune system to recognize all kinds of different spike proteins it’s never seen. This is a great day to go and get boosted or find out how to do so.”