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Omicron is declining in South Africa. Here's what to expect in the United States

A researcher at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, works on the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus on Dec. 15, 2021. (Jerome Delay/AP)
A researcher at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, works on the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus on Dec. 15, 2021. (Jerome Delay/AP)

The omicron-fueled surge of coronavirus cases in the United States continues unabated. The daily average is now more than 405,000 cases, and hospitalization rates are up 35% in just two weeks.

But across the world in South Africa, the opposite is happening. A month after omicron was first identified, cases have dropped by more than a third with many restrictions lifted, including travel and curfews.

So why are the cases dropping there and can we expect the same in the U.S.?

Here & Now‘s Scott Tong talks to Mia Malan, editor-in-chief at South Africa’s Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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