The World Health Organization warned on the 12th that the COVID-19 variant Omicron is still dangerous, especially for those who have not been vaccinated against the new crown virus.
According to Reuters, in the week ending on the 9th, there were 15 million new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 worldwide, an increase of 55% from the previous week, setting a record for new confirmed cases in a single week since the outbreak of the epidemic.
“The dramatic increase in infections was caused by Omicron, which rapidly replaced Delta (strain) in almost all countries,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference, “despite the symptoms caused by Omicron. Not as serious as Delta, but it’s still a dangerous virus, especially for those who haven’t been vaccinated.”
Tedros believes that there are still many people in the world who have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19, so the Omicron strain cannot be allowed to spread. “More spread means more hospitalizations, more deaths, more shutdowns … it increases the likelihood that another variant will emerge, which may be more contagious and deadly than Omicron.”
Tedros said that the world now has an average of about 50,000 COVID-19 deaths per week, and the “vast majority” of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals have not been vaccinated. He acknowledged that the COVID-19 vaccine cannot completely prevent infection, but stressed that the vaccine is still very effective in preventing severe disease and death. According to the target set by WHO, the proportion of the vaccinated population in various countries and regions around the world should reach 40% by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022. However, there are still 90 countries and regions where the vaccinated population accounts for less than 40% of the population; in Africa, more than 85% of the population has not been vaccinated against the COVID-19.
Tedros urged pregnant women to get vaccinated against the COVID-19. He said that pregnant women are not at high risk of contracting the virus, but once the infection develops into a severe disease, the risk is greater. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said it was too early to say that Omicron “is a virus to be embraced.”
Maria van Kerckhoff, WHO’s the technical lead for the COVID-19, said the COVID-19 is in the process of becoming an endemic epidemic, “but it’s not there yet”.