Ômicron is already the dominant variant in the world, data indicate

WHO points out that almost 60% of the cases of covid-19 sequenced in the world in the last month were caused by the new strain, which surpassed the delta. The agency highlights evidence that the omicron can evade immunity. The omicron variant of the coronavirus is already present in 58.5% of the covid-19 cases analyzed in the world, having therefore surpassed the delta and become dominant at a global level, he pointed out. the World Health Organization (WHO). The weekly epidemiological report released this Tuesday (1/11) by the WHO states that, of the more than 357,000 sequenced cases reported to the global initiative for sharing data on influenza and covid-19 (Gisaid, its acronym in English) in In the last 30 days, more than 208,000 were caused by the omicron variant. The delta variant, which was the dominant strain for much of last year, accounted for 147,000 of the sequenced cases (41%). Data have also indicated that the Ômicron, initially detected in southern Africa and reported to the WHO at the end of November, has become the dominant variant in Brazil. It evades immunity, but it is less serious The report highlights that there is increasing evidence that the ômicron variant is able to “escape immunity”, as there is transmission even between vaccinated and people who have already had the disease. The WHO also highlights, on the other hand, “increasing evidence” that the omicron is less severe than earlier variants of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus. Despite this, in another WHO report also published on Tuesday, the organization highlighted that the health risks posed by the omicron remain “very high”, as it can lead to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths in vulnerable populations. The daily record of cases in more than two years of pandemic so far was recorded on the 6th, with more than 2.6 million positive diagnoses worldwide, a number that the WHO itself recognizes could be much higher. Since then, the barrier of 2 million cases has been crossed in several days, and a peak of infections has not yet been confirmed, although some countries first affected by the omicron variant, such as South Africa, appear to have reached this mark. ‘Unprecedented transmissibility’ With the rapid spread of the omicron, experts assume that it will soon be difficult to avoid an infection. On Tuesday, the WHO warned that more than half of Europe’s population could have contracted the variant in the next two months if infection numbers continue at current rates. Also immunologist Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top adviser on the pandemic, predicts that sooner or later the omicron, “with its unprecedented degree of transmissibility efficiency”, will infect almost everyone. Fauci said that those who are vaccinated must also be infected, but that most of them will not have severe cases of the disease, and that the unvaccinated will be the hardest hit. Despite reports of a higher degree of asymptomatic cases and a lower proportion of hospitalizations for cases of the omicron variant, the WHO said it is too early to treat the disease as endemic – in the case of a milder, regularly occurring illness such as the flu. “We still have a virus that is evolving very rapidly and presenting new challenges. So we are certainly not at the point where we can call it endemic,” said Catherine Smallwood of the WHO Emergency Department. lf/rk (Efe, AFP, ots)

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