The host introduced himself, saying, “Hi, my name is Trevor Noah. The anchor of The Daily Show stated at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend, “I’m extremely honoured to be here, honestly.” You could have invited anyone, and any comedian would do, but you chose the South African one instead. In a word, spot on.
More on-Point than Noah probably Realised at the Time.
New cases of a Covid variant were discovered in South Africa on November 9 of that year, 2021. A rise in reported cases across the country prompted the World Health Organization to label this strain a “variant of concern” on November 26 because to concerns over its potential for spreading more easily. Omicron was chosen as its name.
The first cases were reported in the United States on December 1, and the variety, later named BA.1, soon drove out all others, increasing the number of new cases reported each day in the United States from around 120,000 to over 800,000 within six weeks. On January 29, according to research conducted by Johns Hopkins University, the number of deaths attributed to covids increased from an average of 1,300 per day to just under 2,600 per day after BA.1 took over.
A similar pattern may be unfolding this week, as the first instances of two Omicron offshoots, also first discovered in South Africa, have been identified in the United States, as shown by data provided to the global GISAID database and analysed by Outbreak.info.
Ten cases of BA.4 and four cases of BA.5 have been recorded in the United States thus far, but this is still an extremely tiny number. But if they are more contagious than BA.2, the current champion, then they might spread quickly.
According to Outbreak.info, the first BA.4 cases were sequenced on January 10, 2022, in South Africa. Similarly, on February 26th, this same country made the initial discovery of BA.5. The number of cases sequenced in that country has increased by 6% and 5%, respectively, since their detection. However, it appears that South Africa has sequenced only around 1,000 tests per month since January. Whereas South Africa sequenced over 30,000 tests per month, California, with around 20 million fewer people, sequenced between 12,000 and 30,000 samples per month.
According to the South African Department of Health, the number of reported cases has only increased in the last 10 days. New cases have increased from 800 to 1,800 per day in the week ending April 17 to over 6,500 per day as of yesterday.
The United States may or may not experience a similar spike in BA.4/BA.5 cases, but the country has witnessed a significant increase in BA.2 cases, which went from a 7-day average of 26,675 on April 1 to 60,809 as of April 29. Covid-related deaths and hospitalizations have also increased recently.