Whereas the variant is spreading like wildfire all over the world, it seems to be far much less extreme than initially feared and has raised hopes that the pandemic could possibly be overcome and life return to extra normality.
However WHO senior emergencies officer Catherine Smallwood sounded an ominous observe of warning, telling AFP that the hovering an infection charges might have the other impact.
“The extra Omicron spreads, the extra it transmits and the extra it replicates, the extra doubtless it’s to throw out a brand new variant. Now, Omicron is deadly, it will possibly trigger loss of life … possibly just a little bit lower than , however who’s to say what the subsequent variant would possibly throw out,” Smallwood informed AFP in an interview.
Europe has registered greater than 100 million Covid instances because the begin of the pandemic, and greater than 5 million new instances within the final week of 2021, “virtually dwarfing what now we have seen prior to now”, Smallwood mentioned.
“We’re in a really harmful part, we’re seeing an infection charges rise very considerably in Western Europe, and the total influence of that isn’t but clear,” she mentioned.
Smallwood additionally famous that whereas “on a person stage there’s in all probability a decreased threat of hospitalisation” with the Omicron variant in comparison with Delta, general, Omicron might pose a higher risk due to the sheer variety of instances.
“Once you see the instances rise so considerably, that is more likely to generate much more folks with extreme illness, ending up in hospital and probably occurring to die,” she mentioned.
Britain on Tuesday confronted warnings of an impending hospital disaster attributable to employees shortages brought on by a wave of Omicron infections, because the nation’s day by day Covid caseload breached 200,000 for the primary time.
Smallwood mentioned she anticipated that situation to play out in different European nations as effectively.
“Even in well-capacitated, refined well being programs there are actual struggles which can be occurring in the mean time, and it is doubtless that these will play out throughout the area as Omicron drives instances upwards.”