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Omicron should not be categorised as mild as it is killing people, says WHO chief

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said hospitals were overburdened due to the unprecedented number of individuals infected with the new variant, which quickly displaces the previously prevalent Delta strain in many countries.

Omicron should not be categorised as mild as it is killing people says WHO chief gcw
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New York, First Published Jan 7, 2022, 9:06 AM IST
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The World Health Organization reiterated Thursday that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is killing people worldwide and should not be regarded as moderate. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said hospitals were overburdened due to the unprecedented number of individuals infected with the new variant, which quickly displaces the previously prevalent Delta strain in many countries. Tedros stated at a press conference that while Omicron appears to be less severe than Delta, especially in individuals who have been vaccinated, this does not imply it should be classified as light.

He claims that, like prior iterations, Omicron is hospitalising and murdering individuals. In fact, the flood of cases is so large and fast that it is overwhelming healthcare systems worldwide. Last week, just 9.5 million new Covid-19 cases were reported to the WHO, setting a new high and increasing by 71% from the previous week. But even this was an underestimation, according to Tedros, because it did not account for the backlog of testing during the Christmas-New Year vacations, positive self-tests that were not reported, and overburdened monitoring systems that missed instances.

Also Read | WHO warns soaring Omicron cases could raise chance of newer, severe strain

Tedros used his first address of 2022 to criticise affluent nations for hogging available vaccination doses last year, claiming it had created the ideal breeding ground for viral strains to emerge. As a result, he asked the globe to distribute vaccination doses more equally in 2022 to put a stop to Covid-19's "death and devastation."

Also Read  | Mumbai and Delhi see spike in COVID-19 numbers, record over 20,000 and 15,000 fresh cases in just 24 hours

Meanwhile, the WHO's Covid-19 technical head Maria Van Kerkhove stated that it is "extremely improbable" that Omicron will be the final variety of concern before the epidemic ends.
In the face of the more transmissible Omicron variety, Van Kerkhove recommended individuals strengthen the protective precautions they were already taking.

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