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WHO releases ominous data on “hot spots” Omicron warns of pandemic impact

The World Health Organization has just released disturbing new data on the number of people infected with COVID-19 in South Africa.

Yesterday (December 8), the World Health Organization stated that as the Omicron variant spread and became the main variant, the number of new COVID-19 infections in South Africa has more than doubled from last week. So in this country.

The WHO said in a report that in the week from November 29 to December 5, the number of cases in South Africa increased by 111% from the previous week. In the week from November 29th to December 5th alone, South Africa reported approximately 62,000 new cases.

On December 8, 2021, a health worker prepares to vaccinate people against COVID-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The rate of COVID-19 testing positive has also soared. In the first week of November, only 1.2% of the tests were positive. But the WHO added that at the beginning of last week, the positive rate was 22.4%.

The exact reason for this increase is unclear. However, WHO suspects that the cause may be the spread of Omicron, the reduction of public health measures, and the “sub-optimal” coverage of vaccination. According to the World Health Organization, so far, only 25.2% of the South African population has been fully vaccinated.

When the data was released, the Omicron variant had spread globally, with confirmed cases in 57 countries/regions. According to another WHO report, of the Omicron variant infections reported as of December 2, South Africa and Botswana both detected the variant at the beginning of last month, accounting for 62%.

At the same time, scientists around the world are trying to answer questions about the spread and severity of new mutations.

Omicrons has an unprecedented large number of mutations in the mutant protein of the virus. According to the World Health Organization, some mutations affect the virulence of the variant and indicate that it is more contagious than previous variants.

Changing the course of the pandemic
On the same day, on December 8, WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus warned that the Omicron variant might change the course of the pandemic.

Tedros said at a press conference held at the WHO headquarters: “Some of Omicron’s characteristics, including its global spread and a large number of mutations, indicate that it can have a significant impact on the population.” The body. .The evolution of the pandemic”.

Also at the press conference, Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO COVID-19 technical team, said that preliminary evidence from South Africa may indicate that the impact of the new variant is less than that of the Delta variant, but “it is too late to conclude. In the morning.” .

Van Kerkhove said that patients with this variant in South Africa have milder symptoms and may not have experienced a complete infection process.

“It’s too early to draw conclusions,” Fankov said at a press conference. “I just want to be cautious before drawing any conclusions on the severity of Omicron.”

However, Ms. Van Kerkhove said that vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, people who have not been vaccinated or have underlying diseases, have a much higher risk of serious illness. .

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