WHO: Record weekly soar in COVID-19 circumstances, fewer deaths

WHO chief says Omicron variant seems to supply much less extreme illness however shouldn’t be categorised as ‘mild’.

The World Health Organization stated a file 9.5 million circumstances of COVID-19 have been tallied all over the world final week, marking a 71 % weekly surge that amounted to a “tsunami” as the brand new Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps worldwide.

However, the variety of recorded deaths declined.

“Last week, the highest number of COVID-19 cases were reported so far in the pandemic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated on Thursday. He stated the WHO was sure that was an underestimate due to a backlog in testing across the year-end holidays.

The UN well being company, in its weekly report on the pandemic, stated the weekly rely amounted to 9,520,488 new circumstances – with 41,178 deaths recorded final week in contrast with 44,680 within the week earlier than that.

WHO officers have lengthy cited a lag between case counts and deaths, with adjustments within the loss of life counts usually trailing about two weeks behind the evolution of case counts.

They have additionally famous that the extra infectious Omicron variant seems to supply much less extreme illness than the globally dominant Delta pressure, however shouldn’t be categorised as “mild”.

“Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people, and it’s killing people,” Ghebreyesus stated.

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

Governments have struggled to tame the virus, which has killed greater than 5.eight million individuals.

The WHO stated the rises in case counts over the last week diverse, doubling within the Americas area, however rising solely 7 % in Africa.

The WHO emergencies chief, Dr Michael Ryan, stated hypothesis that Omicron is likely to be the final variant of the outbreak was “wishful thinking” and cautioned: “There still is a lot of energy in this virus.”

‘Billions completely unprotected’

Tedros repeated his name for better fairness globally within the distribution of and entry to vaccines.

Based on the present fee of vaccine rollout, 109 international locations will miss the WHO’s goal for 70 % of the world’s inhabitants to be absolutely vaccinated by July, he stated. That purpose is seen as serving to finish the acute section of the pandemic.

“Booster after booster in a small number of countries will not end a pandemic while billions remain completely unprotected,” Tedros stated.

WHO adviser Bruce Aylward stated 36 nations had not even reached 10 % vaccination cowl. Among extreme sufferers worldwide, 80 % have been unvaccinated, he added.

Another variant B.1.640 – first documented in a number of international locations in September 2021 – is amongst these being monitored by the WHO however just isn’t circulating broadly, stated the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, Maria van Kerkhove.

WHO officers known as on the general public to step up measures to struggle the pandemic like getting vaccinated, ventilating rooms, sustaining correct bodily distancing and sporting masks – however correctly.

“I’m struck by how people actually are wearing masks,” Van Kerkhove stated.

“Wearing a mask below your chin is useless. And it gives you a false sense of security that you have something on that is protecting you. It will not … Basically, we are asking everyone to play a part in this.”

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