The World Health Organization (WHO) said that half a million people have died from Covid-19 since the Omicron mutation appeared as an “excessively tragic“ number.
Abdi Mahamud, WHO incident management official, said on February 8 that 130 million infections and 500,000 deaths have been recorded globally since Omicron was announced as a worrying strain late in the day. November last year.
“During the period when effective vaccines were available, half a million deaths (from the Omicron variant) is a remarkable number. While everyone said Omicron was milder, they overlooked the detail that half a million people died. since this strain was discovered. It is too tragic,” added the WHO official.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical team leader on Covid-19, called the number of Omicron infections “astonishing”, and said that the actual number of infections and deaths was much higher than the published figures. dad.
“It brings the previous peaks almost flat. We are still in the middle of the pandemic. I hope we are getting closer to the end of the pandemic. But many countries are still not past the peak of the pandemic. Omicron,” Van Kerkhove said.
Ms. Van Kerkhove said she was extremely concerned because the number of deaths had increased for several weeks in a row. “This virus is still very dangerous,” warned Ms. Van Kerkhove.
WHO is monitoring 4 sublines of Omicron. While BA.1 predominates, BA.2 is more infectious and is expected to account for an increasing proportion of Omicron infections.
According to Ms. Van Kerkhove, so far there is no indication that BA.2 leads to a more severe Covid-19 epidemic than BA.1, but she stressed that evidence collection is still in the early stages.
Covid-19 has killed nearly 5.75 million people since the pandemic first appeared in China in December 2019.
In its weekly Covid-19 epidemiology update published on February 8, WHO said nearly 68,000 new deaths were recorded in the past week – an increase of 7% from the previous week. Meanwhile, the number of new Covid-19 cases weekly decreased from 17% to nearly 19.3 million.
Europe accounted for 58% of new infections and 35% of deaths last week, while the numbers for the Americas were 23% and 44%, respectively.
The report states that the current pandemic is characterized by “rapid global spread of the Omicron variant” and that the strain has been detected “in most of the country”. The WHO said Omicron accounted for 96.7% of samples collected and sequenced in the past 30 days, while Delta currently accounts for only 3.3%.
The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa. This strain is of concern because it contains more than 50 mutations, including more than 30 mutations in the spike protein, a structure that can affect the ability of the virus to spread or evade immunity.
Many strains of SARS-CoV-2 have been discovered in the past 2 years with different infectivity and virulence. However, only certain strains are thought to be more dangerous, have a higher mortality rate, or are more contagious.