Global covid-19 cases have increased by 30% in just two weeks and in Europe, in particular, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron are responsible for this new wave of infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
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In India, where COVID-19 infection has caused more than half a million confirmed deaths, a new subvariant, called BA.2.75, has been detected and is being closely followed by experts.
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However, everything indicates that the death rate “has been decoupled” from the number
of cases, which although it has skyrocketed has not caused a significant increase in hospitalizations in intensive care or deaths.
The director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that this situation clearly highlights problems that the organization has been warning about for months, such as the sharp drop in diagnostic tests in many countries.
“This hides the true evolution of the virus and the real burden of covid-19 cases in the world,” he said.
Another problem that is more noticeable is that the treatments that are on the market are not being administered soon enough to prevent
serious cases and deaths.
This is being noticed especially in poor countries, “where the new treatments, especially the new oral antivirals, are not reaching,” Tedros said.
Faced with this situation, he said that risk groups should receive the booster vaccine.
To the fact that each infection has an impact on the family and work circle -and on a larger scale on the economy of the countries-, the risk of suffering a long covid is added.
Tedros asked the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to agree to collaborate with health organizations
and with the countries so that their new antiviral is accessible soon.
The WHO believes that the new wave of covid that is beginning to be observed has its origin in people’s perception that this virus will become endemic and in the total relaxation of prevention measures with the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere.
“But it is not time to declare the end of the pandemic,” said WHO expert Abdi Maha, who assured that covid can still cause a lot of damage.
He asked that the groups at greatest risk be protected with easy measures, such as the use
mask in closed spaces and in places where there are many people together.
“We are not telling anyone that we have to go back to the lockdown, to the confinements, we have had two and a half difficult years, people want to return to normal life, but we ask the countries to protect the most vulnerable,” said the WHO Emergencies Director Mike Ryan.
*With information from EFE
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