South Africa claims that its Omicron Wave is receding. South Africa’s government said that a wave of Covid-19 caused by the Omicron variety is receding, while fresh data from the United Kingdom added to findings that it is less likely to cause serious sickness than previous forms of the virus.

The outcomes are encouraging for other nations dealing with outbreaks of illnesses caused by the highly transmissible strain, notably the United States, where mounting cases have spurred greater efforts to restrict the spread.

The quick fall of Omicron in South Africa gives other nations confidence that they, too, can withstand surges. The mutation, discovered by South African scientists in November, has pushed infection rates to new highs in nations such as the United Kingdom and France, leading several governments to strengthen public-health efforts to reduce hospitalizations.

Though the evidence from South Africa is encouraging, scientists warn that the country’s experience may not be replicated in Europe, the United States, or elsewhere. Because of high levels of previous infection, South Africa’s population is young and presumably has some level of immunity against severe illness with the variation. It’s also summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and the virus spreads more easily in the winter, when people congregate inside.

Nonetheless, a growing body of research shows that the variation is producing lesser disease, particularly in persons who have some protection from vaccination or earlier infection.

After adjusting for factors such as age, gender, and vaccination status, a new analysis published Friday by the U.K. Health Security Agency of more than half a million confirmed or possible Omicron cases in Britain found that the overall risk of hospitalisation with the variant was around a third of the risk associated with the earlier Delta strain.

The agency discovered that immunizations offer significant protection against severe disease with Omicron, particularly after a booster injection. In one study, three vaccination doses lowered the chance of hospitalisation by 81 percent when compared to the danger faced by uninfected patients; a second study of a smaller sample of cases reduced the risk by 88 percent.

Scientists and public-health authorities warn that, despite the lower chance of serious disease, the speed with which Omicron spreads means that it may still infect a large number of people.

On Thursday, the daily case count in the United States surpassed 587,000, and hospitalizations continued to increase. According to a Wall Street Journal examination of Johns Hopkins University statistics, Thursday’s data—the highest number of cases recorded in a single day in the country—increased the seven-day average of reported daily cases to 347,430. Those estimates were reduced down from data released earlier in the day by Johns Hopkins, but the daily average is still approximately 95,000 more than the peak hit during last winter’s rise.

The outbreak has expanded across the country, with 49 states and Puerto Rico reporting a seven-day average of daily cases that is greater than the 14-day average, indicating that reported illnesses have accelerated.

Following a third consecutive day of record Covid-19 cases in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul stated Friday that the state will take additional measures to restrict viral transmission. One of the safeguards is a two-week extension of the state’s indoor mask-or-vaccine mandate for companies, which was supposed to expire on Jan. 15. Students at New York state institutions will be obliged to obtain Covid-19 vaccine booster doses beginning in mid-January, if they are eligible.

The state is also expanding testing locations, increasing distribution of N95 masks, and sending additional National Guard personnel to New York City to help with the pandemic response.

“All of this is aimed at keeping the economy open,” Ms. Hochul said during a press conference. “Another option is to say, ‘Shut it all down.'”

According to data obtained by South Africa’s health authority, there was a 30% decrease in new Covid-19 cases in the week ending December 25 compared to the previous week. Cases decreased from 127,753 to 89,781. According to the government, hospital admissions have decreased in all provinces except the Western Cape.