Covid: Omicron spreading at unprecedented rate, WHO says


The new coronavirus variant Omicron is spreading across the globe at an unprecedented rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

Cases of the heavily mutated variant have been confirmed in 77 countries.

But at a press conference, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was probably in many others that had yet to detect it.

Dr Tedros said he was concerned that not enough was being done to tackle the variant.

“Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems,” he said.

The WHO’s latest data suggests the variant – first detected in South Africa in November – can better evade existing vaccines and carries a higher risk of re-infection, leading the organisation to say the level of risk remains very high.

A number of countries have introduced travel bans affecting South Africa and its neighbours following the emergence of Omicron, but this has failed to stop it from spreading around the world.

In Tuesday’s news conference, Dr Tedros reiterated concerns about vaccine inequity, as some countries accelerate rollouts of a booster shot in response to Omicron.

Recent studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine showed it produced far fewer neutralising antibodies against Omicron than against the original strain, but that this deficit could be reversed by a third, booster, jab.

Dr Tedros said boosters could play an important role in curbing the spread of Covid-19, but that it was “a question of prioritisation”.

“The order matters. Giving boosters to groups at low risk of severe disease or death simply endangers the lives of those at high risk who are still waiting for their primary doses because of supply constraints,” he said.

Supplies to the global vaccine-sharing programme Covax have increased in recent months.

However, world health officials fear a shortfall of tens of millions of doses – like the one which occurred in the middle of this year when India suspended its vaccine exports – could happen again.

In poorer countries, some vulnerable people are yet to receive a single dose.

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  1. This variant has killed exactly 1 person so far. The vax on the other hand…well…can we just admit we have our priorities mixed up?

    • source to legitimize your claim please?
      Otherwise, you know what they say…..opinions are like assholes – everybody has one.

      • Go look at the fact that the only fully vaccinated island in the world (Gibraltar) still has rampant cases of covid and recent surges, go and look it up for yourselves.

  2. let alone the millions who has died before the vaccine was available! The USA alone had 500,000 deaths before the vaccine hit the ground. So ya our priorities are mixed trying to save people who dont want to be saved.

    • Which people being pushed down? I’m guessing but I reckon your probably part of the unvaccinated minority and fear that you’re being or will be discriminated against.

      That’s a reasonable concern from your perspective, however I have far more concern for the people who depend on access

  3. Continued…
    Who depend on access to our limited health facilities.

    If the hospital is full of unvaccinated Covid patients, where do the accident victims, cardiac, cancer renal failure, or the hospital’s regular clients go?

    Their only option is a grave.

    I respect anyone’s personal beliefs, but we need to recognise that our decisions can have unintended consequences. Maybe for you it’s easy, f them they were going to die anyway. But for many others who care about their families and friends, it’s not so simple.

  4. I know you might have concerns, or so I thought at one point. That time has long pass and the facts are clear as day is to night. There are people who are setting out in destroying others by encouraging them not to take the vaccine. The choice is your take the vaccine that save lives or don’t take it and not If but when you get the virus you either get very sick, left with life time effects or worst case die .

  5. And you who’s trying to scare people into taking the vaccine with your crap about life time effects or die. I guess you don’t know anyone who got the virus and survived without any effects. And you also must not know anyone who took the vaccines and have lifelong effects. Like 12 year old Mattie, who’s now in a wheelchair and eats from a feeding tube; or any of the 318 FIFA players that suffered cardiac events following the jabs -178 of them who died And the hundreds of thousands of adverse events that are reported on the VAERS website.

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