- In the last week, almost 75,000 deaths from COVID-19 were reported to WHO
- Omicron is not the common cold; it is not influenza: Dr Maria Van Kerkhove
- Omicron BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1: WHO
New Delhi: The World Health Organisation has once again raised an alarm over the casual approach towards COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. In India and other parts of the world, the third wave of the pandemic, which is slowing down, was driven by the Omicron variant. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some countries are lifting all public health and social measures despite high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. In the last week alone, almost 75,000 deaths from COVID-19 were reported to WHO.
Also Read: Omicron Sub-Lineage BA.2 Has Substantial ‘Growth Advantage’, Spreads Much Faster Than BA.1, UK Finds
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme said,
The problem is that we have seen too many countries sort of lift it all and then put it all back in and lift it all and put it back in, whereas other countries have really done this slow, step-wise approach. We just need to have countries not do this all-or-nothing approach because it’s confusing and I don’t blame anyone out there that’s confused.
Some countries are lifting all public health and social measures despite high numbers of #COVID19 cases/deaths. @DrMikeRyan and Dr @mvankerkhove explain why slow approach is better ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/hS3aJLNJcJ
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 17, 2022
Also Read: COVID-19 Explained: 10 Things We Know About BA.2 Sub-Variant Of Omicron
Further talking about the Omicron variant specifically and its sub-lineages at a media briefing on Wednesday (February 16), Dr Kerkhove said,
The virus is evolving and Omicron has several sub-lineages that we are tracking. We have BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3. It’s really quite incredible how quickly Omicron, the latest variant of concern has overtaken Delta around the world.
Dr Kerkhove said that all of the sub-lineages of Omicron are more transmissible than Delta.
Most of the sequences are this sub-lineage BA.1. We are also seeing an increase in the proportion of sequences of BA.2. Within the sub-lineages, Omicron BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1. And so, what we are looking for in the epi curves, we are looking at not only how quickly those peaks go up, but how they come down. And as the decline in cases occurs, we also need to look at is there a slowing of that decline or will we start to see an increase again? If we start to see an increase, we could see some further infections of BA.2 after this big wave of BA.1.
Also Read: COVID-19 And Omicron: About Time You Break Up With A Cloth Mask? Here’s What Experts Have To Say
Dr Kerkhove clarified that BA.2 is certainly on the rise, but this is also Omicron. The WHO doesn’t see any difference in terms of severity between BA.2 compared to BA.1.
When the Omicron cases were first reported across the globe, many experts called it a mild disease. However, WHO categorically denied Omicron to be a “mild” disease.
Calling people to be careful and not let their guards down, Dr Kerkhove said,
It (Omicron) is less severe than Delta, but we are still seeing significant numbers of hospitaliations of Omicron. We are seeing significant numbers of deaths. It is not the common cold; it is not influenza.
In the last week alone, almost 75,000 deaths from #COVID19 were reported to WHO.
Dr @mvankerkhove elaborates on Omicron and its sub-lineages transmission and severity ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/w53Z25npx2
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 17, 2022
Also Read: Dangerous To Assume Omicron Will Be The Last Variant; We Can End The Acute Phase Of COVID-19 This Year: WHO Chief
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.