10m cases of Omicron detected in seven days, says WHO - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS

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Monday, January 10, 2022

10m cases of Omicron detected in seven days, says WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that in seven days, ten million cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected globally.


Stating that although the risk of a person coming down with severe infection from the Omicron is lower than the Delta variant, however, the sheer volume of cases detected around the world is astonishing.


WHO, therefore, urged people to reduce their exposure to the disease by observing all protective measures.


According to the COVID-19 Technical Lead of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Maria Van Kerkhove, “Omicron, the latest variant of concern that the WHO is tracking, has been detected around the world. It is efficiently transmitting, and in fact, everywhere where we have good sequencing, this variant has been detected. What we are seeing is a very sharp increase in case numbers.


“You will have noticed in the latest WHO update, almost 10 million cases reported in the last seven days.


“There are a number of reasons for this. First, is the mutations that it has. The virus is able to adhere to human cells more easily. It has mutations that allow it to do that. Second, is that we have what is called immune escape. And this means that people can be re-infected. The other reason is that we are seeing replication of Omicron in the upper respiratory tract, and that is different from Delta and other variants, including the ancestral strain which replicated in the lower respiratory tract, in the lungs.


“And so this combination of factors allowed the virus to spread more easily. With Omicron, what we are learning is that your risk of getting severe disease from Omicron is less than it is for Delta. But the sheer volume of cases that we are seeing around the world is astonishing.


“And even with a lower risk of hospitalisation, we’re still seeing a large number of people who need clinical care, who are hospitalised and that will overburden the system. “


Kerkhove added: “What’s really important right now is we do a couple of things. Number one: get vaccinated when it is your turn. Vaccinations are incredibly protected against severe diseases and death, including against Omicron, as well as Delta, where both of those variants are circulating. And so we really need to make sure that those who are most vulnerable in all countries get vaccinated. Second, is that we need to make sure that we have good testing systems, getting people into clinical care pathways so that they can receive the care that they need. Everybody else has a responsibility as well as to keep yourself safe.


“It’s really important right now that we minimise exposure, so that we can minimise those case numbers, so that they don’t have that knock on effect of burdening the healthcare system, as well as other sectors.”


In Nigeria, 40 people have died from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in eight days, according to the situation report of the epidemiological data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).


The report revealed that between January 1 to 8, 2022, death toll increased from 3,031 to 3,071, bringing the total death tally to 40.


The Nation reports that since the beginning of this year, a total of 5,434 COVID-19 cases have been reported. As of January 8, 2022; the country recorded 247,775 confirmed cases, 218,427 discharges and sadly, 3,071 deaths.


Encouraging Nigerians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the Federal Government continues to urge citizens to observe and strictly adhere to all non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) of regular hand washing with soap under flowing water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, proper wearing of face masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.


A new strain of Covid-19 Deltacron has emerged in Cyprus, which has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, as well as some of the mutations from Omicron.


However, experts said the new variant is not something to be worried about at the moment.


According to ANI, 10 of the mutations from Omicron were found in the 25 samples taken in Cyprus. Eleven of the samples came from people who were hospitalised due to the virus, while 14 came from the general population, reported Jerusalem Post citing Cyprus Mail.


“The frequency of the mutation among hospitalised patients was higher and could point to a correlation between the new variant and hospitalisations,” said Dr. Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus.


The new variant was not something to worry about at the moment, said Cyprus’s Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandelas on Saturday.


The minister also expressed pride in discovering the new variant. So far, the scientific name of the new variant has not been announced.

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