Although the variant is spreading like wildfire around the world, it appears to be less pathogenic than initially feared and has raised hopes that the pandemic could be overcome.
But Catherine Smallwood, a WHO emergency officer, told AFP that skyrocketing infection rates could have the opposite effect.
The more Omicron spreads, the more it is transmitted and the more it replicates, the more likely it is to generate a new variant., she clarified.
Currently Omicron is deadly, it can cause death (…) Maybe a little less than Delta, but who can say what the next variant could generate?
Europe has recorded more than 100 million cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic, and more than five million new cases in the last week of 2021, which
eclipses almost everything we’ve seen so far, added Smallwood.
We are in a very dangerous phase, contamination rates are increasing very significantly in Western Europe, and the real impact of this is not yet clear., she said.
at the individual level, the risk of hospitalization is probably lower with the Omicron variant than with Delta, overall, Omicron could pose a greater threat due to the number of cases, she continued.
” When the number of cases increases so significantly, it is likely that many more people with serious illnesses will end up in hospital and even die. “
The United Kingdom, which announced Tuesday to have identified for the first time more than 200,000 new daily cases, is threatened with a hospital crisis due to the lack of personnel caused by the wave of Omicron. Neighboring France should approach 300,000 cases on Tuesday, according to the authorities.
Ms Smallwood said she expected similar scenarios in other European countries:
Even in sophisticated and large healthcare systems, there are real challenges right now, and this is likely to happen again in the region as Omicron leads to an increase in cases..
Across the world, there are on average more than 1.6 million new cases per day, double the number of a week ago. Over the past seven days, more than 11.2 million people around the world have been infected with the virus.