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COVID-19: Omicron Not Mild, Killing People – WHO DG, Ghebreyesus

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus, has said the omicron variant of the coronavirus pandemic is leading to hospitalisation and killing people, just as other variants.

Mr Ghebreyesus said this on Thursday at a media briefing on COVID-19, noting that the omicron variant should not be classified as mild.

“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,” he said, adding that; “Just like previous variants Omicron is hospitalising people and killing people.”

He said; “In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.

“Hospitals are becoming overcrowded and understaffed, which further results in preventable deaths from not only COVID-19 but other diseases and injuries where patients cannot receive timely care.”

Speaking on vaccination, the director-general also said “vaccine inequity is a killer of people and jobs, and it undermines a global economic recovery.”

“Last week, the highest number of COVID-19 cases were reported so far, in the pandemic,” he said, adding; “And we know for certain that this is an underestimate of cases because reported numbers do not reflect the backlog of testing around the holidays, the number of positive self-tests not registered and burden survey surveillance systems that miss cases around the world.”

 Mr Ghebreyesus also said the essence of the disparity is that some countries are moving toward vaccinating citizens a fourth time, saying this is happening while others have not even had enough regular supply to vaccinate their health workers and those at most risk.

He said; “Booster after booster in a small number of countries will not end a pandemic while billions remain completely unprotected. But we can and must turn it around. In the short-term, we can end the acute stage of this pandemic while preparing now for future ones.”

The WHO boss re-emphasised the need for vaccination and other preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus.

He said: “First-generation vaccines may not stop all infections and transmission, but they remain highly effective in reducing hospitalisation and death from this virus.

“So, as well as vaccination, public health social measures, including the wearing of well-fitting masks, distancing, avoiding crowds, and improving and investing in ventilation are important for limiting transmission.”

Checks on Worldometer’s coronavirus dashboard shows that as of Friday, there have been 301,521,224 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 5,492,798 fatalities worldwide.

It also shows that a total of 38,176,931 are currently infected with COVID-19, out of which 38,084,807 are in mild condition and 92,124 are in serious or critical condition.

It also adds that a total of 257,851,495 have been successfully treated and discharged worldwide.

On vaccination, the Reuters COVID-19 global tracker reveals that, so far, at least 202 countries have begun vaccinating people for the coronavirus and have administered at least 9,315,164,000 doses of vaccines.


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