WHO warns we’re not ready to treat Covid like flu — Analysis

The worldwide well being physique has mentioned the continued unfold of Omicron throughout Europe poses a “big quantity of uncertainty” concerning the pandemic

The World Well being Group’s (WHO) senior emergency officer for Europe has urged governments to not deal with Covid as endemic, because of the threat of the virus “evolving fairly rapidly” and presenting “new challenges.”

Issuing the warning on Tuesday, Dr. Catherine Smallwood known as for persevering with vigilance due the affect of the Omicron pressure of Covid-19.

With Europe having seen 7 million new circumstances of Covid within the first week of 2022 alone, the UN well being company warned that Omicron might infect greater than half of Europeans inside the coming two months.

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Given the unfold and persevering with uncertainty concerning the trajectory of the virus, Smallwood cautioned in opposition to current calls to deal with the pandemic as endemic.

“We nonetheless have an enormous quantity of uncertainty and a virus that’s evolving fairly rapidly, imposing new challenges. We’re actually not on the level the place we’re in a position to name it endemic,” Smallwood said.

The considerations raised by Smallwood about downgrading Covid comply with an announcement from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez about altering the way in which Covid is tracked. Citing how the virus’ lethality is declining, Sanchez instructed that Covid be tracked in an identical method to the flu.

“I imagine that we’ve the circumstances for, with precaution, slowly, opening the controversy on the technical degree and on the degree of well being professionals,” Sanchez mentioned.

Smallwood’s considerations had been echoed by Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, who mentioned on Tuesday that international locations face a “closing window of alternative” to guard their well being techniques from being overwhelmed by Covid. His remark was sparked by how “Omicron strikes sooner and wider than any variant we’ve seen.”

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