(NewsNation Now) — A doctor in South Africa, where the omicron COVID variant was first detected, says health officials became worried when they began seeing young patients infected.
“Children, toddlers (were) being infected and actually getting sick,” professor Rudo Mathivha, director of critical care medicine at Baragwanath Academic Hospital said on “Dan Abrams Live.” “This hadn’t happened before.”
The World Health Organization is calling omicron a variant of concern. It says the strain could be the most contagious so far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is more deadly.
“We saw 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds coming to hospital with severe disease, warranting intensive care admission,” Mathivha said.
No cases have been reported in the United States, but the U.S. and dozens of other countries have imposed travel bans on South Africa and other nations in southern Africa.
Mathivha said the age groups getting sick are the ones that are often unvaccinated.
“The early 20s, mid-30s had actually been reluctant to get vaccinated,” Mathivha said. “Most of these are university students. We had quite a strong anti-vaccination lobby in our country. And they did get to the people and people did not get vaccinated.”
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