Covid-19 update: South Africa reports 9,253 new cases

South Africa has reported 9,253 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, announced.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,827,378. This increase represents a positive outcome rate of 26.6%.

Today, the majority of new cases are in Gauteng Province (40%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (26%). The Western Cape accounted for 14%; The Eastern Cape was 7%; The Free State accounted for 4%; Mpumalanga and North West accounted for 3% each, respectively; Northern Cape was 2%; and Limpopo accounts for 1% of today’s new cases.

Over the past 24 hours, the number of hospitalizations has increased by 144.

The country also recorded 34 deaths, of which 7 occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings the total death toll to date to 100,505.

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24,626,847 tests were carried out in both the public and private sectors.

US Drug Regulator Restricts Use of J&J Covid Vaccine

The US said Thursday that only adults who “have personal concerns” about mRNA vaccines, access issues, or medical reasons for declining them can now receive Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot, which has been linked to a rare but a serious bleeding disorder.

The vaccine, which was approved as a single dose, is less protective than those developed by Pfizer and Moderna, and in December the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised the public to stay away.

Thursday’s FDA decision builds on that recommendation by limiting emergency use of the J&J Covid-19 vaccine.

“Today’s actions demonstrate the robustness of our safety surveillance systems and our commitment to ensuring that science and data guide our decisions,” said FDA scientist Peter Marks.

As of March 18, 60 cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which results in rare and potentially life-threatening blood clots with low platelets, have been reported in the United States, with nine deaths.

Symptoms appear about one to two weeks after administration, and this condition, which can have lifelong consequences even if not fatal, occurs more frequently in premenopausal women.

Concerns about the vaccine have already limited uptake, with just 18.7 million doses administered in the United States, or about 3.2 percent of the total 577 million.

But the FDA stalled before outright deauthorization, and Marks acknowledged the impact of the ban on the global use of the vaccine, as well as the concerns some may have specifically about mRNA vaccines, rather than the adenovirus vector platform that J&J uses.

There are certain medical reasons for refusing the mRNA vaccine, such as rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young men, although these are usually transient and the vast majority of those affected make a full recovery.

However, anti-vaccine groups have also raised more general objections to mRNA vaccines that involve conspiracy theories.

While these types of concerns are not based on evidence, the J&J vaccine exemption nonetheless applies to “individuals who have personal concerns about receiving the mRNA vaccine and would not otherwise receive the Covid-19 vaccine.” the FDA said in a statement.

Additional AFP reporting