Omicron Surge May Lead To Rise Of More Dangerous Variants: WHO

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OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The widespread surge in infection of Omicron variant of COVID-19 can potentially lead to emergence of new and may be, more dangerous variants of the virus, WHO has warned.

Since the Omicron is not proving to be so dangerous as initially feared, the world is not taking it seriously and this laxity increases the chances of a new variant confronting the world as cases continue to spiral, the World Health Organisation (WHO) feels.

In an interview to an American newspaper, Senior Emergency Officer of WHO Catherine Smallwood said, “The more Omicron spreads, the more likely it is to be transmitted and replicate. Currently, Omicron is deadly and potentially deadly … probably a little less than Delta. What’s next? Who will tell you to throw it away.”

Due to its less severity, the scientists are hoping that Omicron could possibly overcome the pandemic and bring life back to normal. But, according to Smallwood, more than 100 million COVID cases have been registered in Europe since the start of the pandemic and more than 5 million new cases had come up in the last week of 2021.

“We are at a very dangerous stage and see a very significant increase in infection rates in Western Europe, the full impact of which is not yet clear,” she said. The warning comes at a time when French researchers have detected a new COVID variant, probably of Cameroonian origin, and have temporarily named it as `IHU`.

Noting that the hospitalisation rate is far less with Omicron compared to Delta, the WHO senior emergency officer warned that the new variant could pose a greater threat because of the sheer number of cases. She also spoke about rising Omicron cases in Britain and expected that the scenario will play out in other European countries as well.

“When you see the cases rise so significantly, that’s likely to generate a lot more people with severe disease, ending up in hospital and possibly going on to die,” Smallwood said. “Even in well-capacitated and sophisticated health systems, there are real struggles that are happening at the moment and it’s likely that these will play out across the region as Omicron drives cases upwards,” she said.

OB Bureau

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