The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the new Coronavirus variant XBB.1.5.
The Corona variant discovered in October is more easily transmissible than any previously known virus variants, World Health Organization (WHO) Corona specialist Maria van Kerkhove said Wednesday in Geneva.
Corona variant XBB.1.5 spreads in U.S. and Europe
According to available genetic analyses of the virus, it is spreading mainly in the U.S. and Europe and has already been detected in 29 countries. It is a subset of the Omikron variant that has been circulating since late 2021. A risk analysis is underway and will be published soon, van Kerkhove said.
Pressure mounts on the healthcare system in northern countries
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated earlier this year that XBB.1.5 accounted for about 40.5 percent of all new infections in the United States in the week leading up to the new year. “In recent weeks, reports of hospitalizations and pressures on health systems have been mounting, particularly in regions of the Northern Hemisphere where respiratory illnesses such as influenza are also rampant,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WHO criticizes China over corona wave
Regarding the Corona wave in China, the WHO continues to press for more information from Chinese authorities. Tedros expressed understanding for countries that have implemented testing requirements for travellers from China. “We continue to demand faster, regular and reliable data from China on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive real-time sequencing of viruses,” Tedros said. “Because viral circulation in China is such high and comprehensive data is not being provided, it’s understandable that some countries are taking action to protect their citizens.” The call for testing is not travel restrictions, said WHO Emergency Relief Coordinator Mike Ryan.
He criticized the narrow Chinese definition of Corona death statistics. Only infected people who die of respiratory problems are still counted. However, according to WHO data, the complications that can lead to death from covid-19 are much more extensive. The Chinese definition is far too narrow, Ryan said. As a result, the WHO believes the actual number of covid-19 deaths is much higher, he said.
- source: vienna.at/picture: pixabay.com
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