More cases of the Omicron variant have been recorded in the world compared to the total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in 2020, this is according to the World Health Organization.
Data from WHO indicates that almost 90 million cases of the Omicron variant have been recorded since the variant was first identified around 10 weeks ago in South Africa.
According to WHO, this is higher than the total number of cases that were reported in 2020. Data shows that around 85 million cases were reported then.
Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General WHO attributes the increased number to laxity of adhering to the preventive measures due to the presence of vaccines and the belief that the variant is less severe. He however adds that the increase in infections is leading to deaths which are worrying.
He adds that while they do not want countries to re-institute lockdowns as a measure to forestall the spread of COVID-19, something needs to be done to reduce the rate of transmission of the virus.
“We are not calling for any country to return to the so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone. It’s premature for any country either to surrender or to declare victory. This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes,” he adds.
While countries in some WHO regions are experiencing increases in the number of COVID-19 cases, those in Africa are reporting a decrease in cases and deaths. According to the data from WHO a drop in cases of over 20 percent and an 8 percent decrease in deaths in the region was recently reported.
Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, says in Uganda just like in most parts of the world, the variant has become the predominant one. Kaleebu says more cases of Omicron will likely be reported until many people are vaccinated so that they attain herd immunity or when the next variant emerges.
“Before the first cases were identified, the Delta variant was the most predominant in the country. Over 97 percent of all detected cases were Delta. Now, it is the Omicron but this should be expected since new variants spread and become drivers of transmissions normally in a pandemic,” he said.
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