Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Do not take Omicron COVID-19 variant as flu, warns WHO – National | Globalnews.ca

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that the omicron version of COVID-19 is on track to infect more than half of Europeans, but it should not yet be seen as an endemic disease like the flu.

Europe reported more than seven million new cases in the first week of 2022, more than doubling in a two-week period, WHO’s director of Europe Hans Kluge told a news briefing.

“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that more than 50 percent of the region’s population will be infected with Omicron in the next six-eight weeks,” Kluge said, referring to a research center at the university. of Washington.

Read more:

Omicron FAQ: Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 variant

Kluge said 50 of the 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia have reported cases of the more infectious form.

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However, evidence is emerging that Omicron is affecting the upper respiratory tract more than the lungs, causing milder symptoms than previous forms.

But the WHO has cautioned that more studies are needed to prove this.

On Monday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said it may be time to change how it tracks the development of COVID-19 to instead use a method similar to the flu, as its lethality has fallen.

This would mean that without recording every case and testing all those presenting symptoms, the virus would be treated as an endemic disease rather than a pandemic.

But it is “one way off”, the WHO’s senior emergency official for Europe, Katherine Smallwood, said at the briefing, adding that endemicity requires a stable and predictable transmission.

“We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving very quickly, imposing new challenges. We’re certainly not at the point where we can call it endemic,” Smallwood said.

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“It may be endemic in due course, but narrowing it down to 2022 is a bit difficult at this stage.”

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Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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