“Omicron continues to sweep the planet,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Tuesday.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the COVID-19 pandemic “is not over,” warning against the notion that the alternative, Omicron, is benign.
“Omicron continues to sweep the planet. (…) Make no mistake, Omicron causes hospitalizations and deaths, and even less severe cases overwhelm healthcare institutions,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference. “This pandemic is not over yet, and given the incredible growth of Omicron around the world, new variables are likely to emerge,” he added.
“There is no country outside the jungle yet”
On January 11, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) estimated that although the disease is still in an epidemic stage, the spread of the Omicron variant will turn Covid-19 into an endemic disease to which humanity can learn to adapt.
“With increased immunity in the population – and with Omicron there will be a lot of natural immunity in addition to vaccination – we will move quickly towards a scenario closer to endemicity,” said Marco Cavalieri, head of vaccine strategy in Amsterdam. – EMA-based.
In Switzerland, Health Minister Alain Berset estimated last week that the Omicron variant could be the “beginning of the end” of the epidemic. But the head of the World Health Organization is more cautious, and once again emphasized that the Omicron variant is not benign.
“In some countries, Covid cases seem to have peaked, which gives hope that the worst of the last wave is over, but no country is out of the jungle yet,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Many countries where the population is poorly vaccinated
He was particularly concerned that many countries have low rates of vaccination against Covid: “People are more likely to develop severe forms of disease or die if they are not vaccinated.”
“Omicron may be less severe on average, but the narrative that it is a mild disease is misleading[and]hurts the overall response and costs more lives,” said Dr. Tedros.
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