The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday that the proliferation of Omigron cases worldwide could increase the risk of a new, more dangerous variant of COVID-19.
Although this variant is spreading like wildfire around the world, it appears to be less contagious than initially feared and has raised hopes that the epidemic could be overcome.
But Catherine Smallwood, a WHO emergency official, told the AFP that skyrocketing infection rates could have the opposite effect.
“The more Omigron spreads, the more it spreads and reflects, the more likely it is to create a new variant,” he said. “Currently Omigron is dangerous, it can cause death (…) slightly less than Delta, but who can say what the next variant can create? “
More than 100 million Govt cases have been recorded in Europe since the outbreak, and there are more than five million new cases in the last week of 2021, “covering up everything we’ve seen so far.” Now Smallwood said.
“We are at a critical juncture. Pollution rates in Western Europe are rising significantly and the real impact is not yet clear,” he said.
He went on to say that although the risk of being hospitalized on an individual level may be lower with the Omigran variant than the Delta, the overall number of Omigron cases may pose a greater threat.
“As the number of cases increases significantly, more and more people will end up in hospital or die from serious illnesses,” he said.
The United Kingdom announced on Tuesday that it had identified more than 200,000 new daily cases for the first time, and the hospital was in crisis due to a shortage of staff caused by Omigron’s wave. Neighboring France is expected to access 300,000 cases on Tuesday, officials said.
Ms. Smallwood said she expects similar scenarios in other European countries: “There are real challenges now, even in large, sophisticated healthcare systems, and this is likely to happen again in the future, with regions like Omicron leading to an increase in cases.”