Covid: Deadly Omicron should not be called mild, warns WHOon January 6, 2022 at 7:30 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

The WHO cautions that just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising and killing people.

A health worker comforts a child with Covid-19

Image source, AFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against describing the Omicron variant as mild, saying it is killing people across the world.

Recent studies suggest that Omicron is less likely to make people seriously ill than previous Covid variants.

But the record number of people catching it has left health systems under severe pressure, said WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

On Monday, the US recorded more than one million Covid cases in 24 hours.

The WHO – the UN’s health agency – said the number of global cases has increased by 71% in the last week, and in the Americas by 100%. It said that among severe cases worldwide, 90% were unvaccinated.

“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,” Dr Tedros told a press conference on Thursday.

“Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people.

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

Omicron is highly contagious and can infect people even if they are fully vaccinated. However, vaccines are still pivotal as they help protect against severe disease that could put you in hospital.

On Thursday, the UK reported 179,756 cases and 231 Covid-related deaths. A number of hospitals have declared “critical” incidents due to staff absence and rising pressures due to Covid.

Elsewhere, hospital numbers are also rising. France’s health minister Olivier Veran warned this week that January would be tough for hospitals.

He added that Omicron patients were taking up “conventional” beds in hospitals while Delta was putting a strain on ICU departments. France on Thursday reported 261,000 cases.

People queue for Covid tests in France

Image source, Reuters

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, said the country’s healthcare system is currently under great pressure. The country recorded more than 9,000 cases on Thursday, according to local media.

In his latest comments, Dr Tedros repeated his calls for greater vaccine distribution to help poorer countries jab their populations.

He said that based on the current vaccine rollout, 109 countries will miss the WHO’s target for 70% of the world to be fully vaccinated by July.

Last year, the WHO chief said the world will have enough doses of the vaccine in 2022 to jab the entire global adult population – if Western countries do not hoard vaccines to use in booster programmes.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

- Advertisement -

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

Italy are champions three years after failing to qualify for the World Cupon July 11, 2021 at 10:20 pm

Watch highlights as Italy beat England 3-2 in a tense penalty shootout to become European champions at Wembley.Watch highlights as England's hopes of ending...

Desmond Tutu: Remembered by daughter as a ‘hugger’on December 28, 2021 at 5:22 pm

Nontombi Naomi Tutu says her father "went to meet his God, ready and willing."The daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu has remembered her father as...

Saudi Arabia: Biden set to meet Crown Prince amid criticismon July 15, 2022 at 8:16 am

The US leader will head to Saudi Arabia after meeting Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank.Image source, Getty ImagesUS President Joe Biden will...

Give more pupils free school meals, teachers in England sayon May 30, 2022 at 11:01 pm

Children can't afford lunch at school as the cost of living rises, unions say.Image source, Getty ImagesMore children should be given free school meals...

Splitting parents could face fines for refusing mediationon March 23, 2023 at 3:36 pm

Ministers say mandatory mediation will cut court backlogs, but fears for coercive control victims are raised.Image source, urbazonBy Sean SeddonBBC NewsSeparating parents in England...