Covid-19 pandemic declared ‘nowhere near over’ — Analysis

World Health Organization (WHO) officials announced on Tuesday that the end of the global Covid-19 pandemic won’t come soon as Omicron-variant cases are on the rise in some countries. The global health organization believes that there will be new Covid-19 variants as a result of virus mutations in high-infection areas around the globe.

“We’re hearing a lot of people suggest that Omicron is the last variant, that it’s over after this. And that is not the case because this virus is circulating at a very intense level around the world,” said Maria van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, during a press briefing in Geneva. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, WHO Director General, stated that death rates remain the same, however, he expressed concern about how healthcare systems are being strained by an unprecedented rise in infections in many countries, particularly in low-vaccination countries.

“In some countries, cases seem to have peaked, which gives hope that the worst of this latest wave is done with, but no country is out of the woods yet,”During the Geneva briefing, he made this observation. He reminded people that the narrative of the Omicron variant being a ‘mild disease’ is misleading and harmful. 

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“This pandemic will not end soon,”Director-General cautioned.

WHO statistics show that new infections increased by 20% in the last week, with nearly 19 million cases reported. However, the officials warned that it’s an underestimate of the actual situation since new unreported cases might increase the real number. According to official WHO statistics, deaths are at an average of almost 45,000 per week. 

Evidence from the past suggested the Omicron variant could cause milder symptoms. This affected mainly the upper respiratory tract. However, the WHO has warned in one of its previous briefings that this variant shouldn’t be categorized as mild, as it’s still highly contagious and causes hospitalizations and deaths.

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