As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge following the entry of the Omicron variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) has once again warned that this variant should not be considered mild as it is hospitalising and killing people. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that record numbers of people are being infected with the variant, which was first detected in South Africa. Tedros said that the Omicron variant is rapidly out-competing all the previous variants, including the most dangerous Delta, in many countries.
“While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild. Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people,” Tedros said during a press conference.
“In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world,” he added.
According to Tedros, the WHO has recorded around 9.5 million new cases in the last week. This is up by 71 per cent when compared to the week before. However, this figure does not reflect the backlog of testing during the holidays of Christmas and New Year.
Tedros also slammed rich countries for hogging available vaccine doses in 2021. He urged the entire world to share out vaccine doses more fairly so that we can put an end to the ‘death and destruction’ caused by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Chief scientist of the WHO Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said that there are many nations that still not sequencing the Omicron variant of COVID-19. This is despite the fact that this variant is becoming dominant around the world.
The number of cases of Omicron has already passed the figure of Delta in the United States and the United Kingdom. Though India is not among the top 10 countries in terms of the number of cases yet but Omicron is causing the rapid spread of the infection.