The wave of COVID infections associated with the rise of the variant omicron continues to grow at a rate never before seen in the pandemic, with a 70% increase in cases in the world last week, although at the same time deaths keep going down, as reported this Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Last week there were 41,000 deaths from COVID on the planet, 10% less than in the previous seven days, and it is the fourth consecutive week of decreases in this indicator, despite the fact that in regions such as America, infections doubled in the period studied, according to the latest epidemiological report.
The figures invite us to trust that the pandemic will evolve into less lethal forms, Although the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, insisted in his first press conference in 2022 that it is still premature to conclude that the omicron variant is a new, lighter stage of the coronavirus.
“It appears to be less severe than delta, especially in vaccinated people, but It should not be categorized as ‘mild’, because it is also causing hospitalizations and is killing “, warned the Ethiopian expert, after recalling that many health systems in the world are saturated in the current “Tsunami of contagions”.
WILL OMICRON BE THE LAST VARIANT?
The director of the agency for Health Emergencies, Mike Ryan, added in the same press conference that the growing opinion that the omicron variant could be the last of the pandemic, since it could immunize that important percentage of the population that is being infected , is overly optimistic.
“It is wishful thinking, because there were also high levels of transmission with previous variants,” warned the Irish expert, who recalled that Other similar forecasts ended up being wrong, such as that the “delta version” was going to be the culmination of the evolution of the coronavirus.
“This virus still has a lot of energy, and while millions of people are still not vaccinated there are still many opportunities for it to spread and generate new variants”, He pointed out, while the head of the WHO anticovid unit, Maria Van Kerkhove, opined that it is “highly unlikely that omicron is the latest variant.”
WHO experts insisted that it is still crucial to extend vaccination, Despite the fact that vaccines have lost their neutralizing power in the face of the omicron variant and many vaccinated people are becoming infected with COVID-19 in the current wave of cases.
Vaccines “remain very effective in preventing severe forms of the disease and reducing deaths” against all known variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19Van Kerkhove assured.
CAUTE OPTIMISM BEFORE 2022 DESPITE THE INITIAL TSUNAMI
In the year that begins, the WHO insists, it can be possible to end the acute phase of the pandemic, despite the current daily records of infections, which have already exceeded the barrier of two million new global cases per day.
In order to end this acute phase, Tedros insisted that The objective should be to ensure that 70% of the population of all countries is vaccinated, although he warned that at the current rate more than a hundred territories will not reach that goal, in the same way that at the end of 2021 the 40 percent target.
“Inequality in vaccines kills people, destroys jobs and harms the global economic recovery,” said Tedros, who lamented that “some countries are already giving their citizens a fourth dose while others do not have enough supplies to immunize their health workers and risk groups ”.
“Distributing vaccines and more booster vaccines in a small number of countries will not end the pandemic as long as billions of other people remain completely unprotected.”, alerted the head of the WHO.
(By Antonio Broto – EFE)