Omicron cases doubling in less than 3 days – WHO — Analysis

The World Health Organization (WHO) has admitted it doesn’t know why the Omicron variant is spreading so rapidly in countries with high levels of Covid-19 immunity.

The WHO updated Saturday to say that Omicron has been detected in at least 89 countries, and that the rate of Omicron cases is increasing in the last 1.5-3 days. It said this was “Delta transmits significantly faster in countries where there is documented community transmission.”

According to the group, it is not clear whether this new variant spreads so quickly in high immune populations because of its higher transmissibility or better immune evasion.

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Omicron has not received any peer-reviewed data on the effectiveness or efficacy of vaccines.,” the WHO said during a technical briefing, as quoted by Reuters.

It warned that given the speed of transmission and the growing number of hospitalizations in the UK and South Africa, “Many healthcare systems could become rapidly overwhelmed..”

More data is also needed regarding the clinical severity of the variant, the WHO said, admitting it still does not understand “The severity profile of the disease and its impact on pre-existing and vaccination immunity.

Omicron’s rapid spread in South Africa has caused new travel restrictions and increased pandemic risk. Several countries have announced complete lockdowns since its discovery five weeks ago. 

Three days running, the UK reported record numbers of Covid cases. Friday saw more than 93,000. London officials are currently considering the possibility of an additional two-week lockdown, following Christmas.



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