Omicron records weekly records of COVID-19 cases, but deaths are ‘stable’ |

Briefing reporters in Geneva, the head of the UN health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the “tremendous rise” was being driven by the alternative Micron, which is rapidly replacing Delta in almost all countries.

Tedros added that despite the number of cases, reported weekly deaths had “remained stable” since October last year, with an average of 48,000 cases. The number of patients admitted to hospital is also increasing in most countries, but it is not at the level seen in previous waves.

He told reporters that this is probably due to the lower omicron severity and spread of immunity from a previous vaccination or infection.

’50 thousand deaths is too many’

For the head of the World Health Organization, while Omicron causes less serious disease than Delta, it remains a dangerous virus, especially for those who have not been vaccinated.

Almost 50 thousand deaths a week is 50 thousand deaths too manyTedros said. “Learning to live with this virus does not mean that we can, or should, accept this number of deaths.”

For him, the world cannot “let this virus have a free ride” when so many people around the world remain unvaccinated.

In Africa, for example, more than 85 percent of people still do not receive a single dose of the vaccine.

“We cannot end the acute phase of the epidemic unless we close this gap,” he said.

make progress

Tedros then recorded some progress toward achieving the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of each country’s population by the middle of this year.

In December, COVAX shipped more than twice the number of doses distributed in November. In the coming days, the initiative should send the billionth dose of the vaccine.

Tedros said some supply restrictions from last year have also begun to ease, but there is still a long way to go.

So far, 90 countries have not yet reached the 40 percent target, and 36 of those countries have vaccinated less than 10 percent of their population.

new vaccines

Tedros also highlighted an interim statement from the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on the composition of the COVID-19 vaccine, which was released on Tuesday, stressing that more vaccines are needed that have a greater impact on preventing infection.

Until such vaccines are developed, the experts explained, the current vaccine formulation may need to be updated.

The group also said that A vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses is unlikely to be sustainable.

heavy toll

According to Tedros, the vast majority of people who are admitted to hospitals around the world are not immune.

At the same time, while immunizations remain highly effective in preventing severe disease and death, they do not completely prevent transmission.

“More transmission means more hospitalizations, more deaths, more people out of work, including teachers and health workers, and more risks of another variant emerging that is more transmissible and more lethal than Omicron,” Tedros explained.


Employees work on a COVID-19 vaccine production line in India.

Employees working on a COVID-19 vaccine production line in India, © UNICEF / Dhiraj Singh

The sheer number of cases also means more pressure on already overburdened and overworked health workers.

A study published last year showed that more than one in four health workers had experienced mental health problems during the pandemic. Data from many countries also shows that many have considered quitting or have left their jobs.

pregnant women

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization hosted a global webinar, attended by clinicians from around the world, on the clinical management of the virus during pregnancy, childbirth and the early postpartum period.

As mentioned earlier in the pandemic, pregnant women are not at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, but if infected, they are more likely to develop serious illness.

That’s why it’s important for pregnant women in all countries to get vaccinated to protect their lives and the lives of their babiesTedros said.

The agency chief also called for pregnant women to be involved in clinical trials of new treatments and vaccines.

He also stressed that fortunately, transmission from mother to child in utero or during childbirth is very rare, and no active virus has been identified in breast milk.



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