Covid on the rise in many countries due to this dangerous ‘double effect’, warns WHO

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COVID-19 is on the rise in many countries and there could be a dangerous ‘double effect’ of opening up too quickly, given the high Omicron transmissibility being reported across the world, Dr Mike Ryan, Exd, WHO health emergencies programme, has said.

Dr Ryan said the reproductive (R-number) number has risen above 1 in many countries, so effective transmission has taken off again. “But what we have seen in those countries that have high levels of vaccination, especially amongst vulnerable people, is continued decoupling of that high incidence from pressure on the health system and high rates of hospital admission and high rates of death.

“When you open up as quickly as some countries have, you will get that bounce in transmission. If you add to that the increased transmissibility of BA.2, then you can a double effect. In all of those countries that are focussed on vaccination of most vulnerable people, it does not necessarily result in a massive increase in pressure on the health system,” he said.

He also said that it does not result in an increase in death rates. “Good surveillance and good tracking are linked to measures that reduce transmission and protect individuals.” Dr Ryan also said the good news is vaccination also has a double effect – it saves lives and protects health systems.

New variant worse than Omicron:-

Chris Whitty, who’s England’s chief medical officer, has said it is still a long way to go before the world will be Covid-free. He also believes that Covid-19 is going to stay forever and will always have a similar death threat as flu.

Many other experts have, however, tried to allay fears around Covid, saying it would now only mutate to a mild cold-causing pathogen. On Covid moving towards endemic from the pandemic stage, Whitty said the virus will now become ‘less dominant’. He also said it’s premature to think that Covid has reached a ‘stable state’.

Also read: New Covid variant worse than Omicron to emerge in 2 years, warns UK’s top health expert

“We could well end up with a new variant that produces worse problems than we’ve got with Omicron and the Omicron problems are by no means trivial,” Whitty said at the Local Government’s Association public health conference, Daily Mail reported.

Omicron+Delta recombinant virus:-

Delta + Omicron recombinant virus is a hybrid version of the coronavirus that combine genes from the Delta and Omicron variants. With both Omicron and Delta COVID variants spreading rapidly, recombinants were expected, World Health Organisation (WHO) stated recently after the first solid evidence of a combination virus (Omicron and Delta) was detected.

WHO officials also asserted that “when we allow the virus to circulate at an intense level it continues to evolve and more variants are expected.” Recently, another recombinant COVID strain was also detected from Israel that combined Omicron BA.1 and BA.2.

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