Omicron: WHO warns of emergence of more dangerous variants

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Are we seeing the emergence of more dangerous viral variants? The World Health Organization has warned of this in light of the Omicron variant of the Corona virus.

The more Omicron spreads and multiplies, “the more likely it is to give rise to a new variant,” WHO emergency response expert Catherine Smallwood said Tuesday in an interview with the AFP news agency.

WHO emergency expert speaks of ‘dangerous phase’
“We are in a very dangerous phase,” Smallwood stressed. “We are seeing very sharp increases in infection rates in Western Europe, the impact of which is not yet clear.”

Hospital risk for omicron infection
While the risk of having to go to the hospital if infected with Omicron is probably lower “on an individual basis” than with the previously dominant Delta variant, Smallwood said. However, Omikron may pose a greater overall risk because of its high incidence, he said.

“With a large increase in the number of cases, there are likely to be many more people who will become severely ill, need to be hospitalized, or possibly die,” Smallwood said. The expert pointed to the extreme increase in infection cases in Europe in the final days of 2021 alone.

More than 100 million corona infections
More than 100 million Corona infections have been recorded in Europe since the start of the pandemic, with more than five million recorded in the last week of 2021, according to WHO data.

Britain warned Tuesday of massive health care staff shortages due to the omicron wave. Similar scenarios are possible in other countries, Smallwood stressed. “Even in well-resourced and modern health systems, there are real problems right now – and they’re likely to develop across the region as Omicron drives up infection cases.”

  • source: vienna.at/picture:
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