WHO Warning: COVID Hospitalizations & Deaths Rising, BA.5 Dominant Subvariant

Geneva: Don’t get complacent about the coronavirus, it’s still very much around.

That’s the message World Health Organization’s infectious disease epidemiologist Dr Maria Van Kerkhove sought to convey when she said that hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise.

Reiterating that there is a continued spike in COVID-positive cases worldwide, Van Kerkhove said the Omicron continues to be dominant variant, with half of the cases being linked to BA.5 sublineage.

“And there are further sub lineages of BA.5 as this virus continues to evolve,” she said.

“It’s the fifth or sixth week in a row where we’re seeing increases in the reported number of cases,” she informed.

“Intense mixing of individuals in absence of mitigation factors, wearing masks and distancing may be factors that may have contributed to the evolution of the virus,” she added.

“Deaths are also increasing. In the last five weeks, we have seen deaths among groups that are not well-protected with the vaccine, meaning they have not been vaccinated. About half of the deaths were from Americans and about 33 per cent of the deaths were from Europe,” Van Kerkhove stated.

According to WHO data, more than 50 countries have reported an increase in deaths, 35 of which have seen a 100 per cent increase.

“Three countries had more than a 1,000 per cent increase (in deaths),” the WHO expert said.

COVID-19 has so far killed over 63 lakh people in two years.

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