The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, drew attention, this Tuesday (10/5), to a new increase in cases of Covid-19 in at least 50 countries. Ômicron’s BA.2 subvariant remains the dominant worldwide. However, the BA.4 and BA.5 strains boosted the transmission of the virus, especially in South Africa.
“The growing number of cases highlights the volatility of this virus. The subvariants are generating a large increase in cases. But, at least for the moment, hospitalizations and deaths are not increasing as quickly as in previous waves,” Tedros said during a press conference on Tuesday (10/5).
The WHO leader attributed the reduction in mortality to the protective effects generated by vaccines and previous waves of the pandemic, but warned that this is not a global privilege. Low-income countries still face difficulties in achieving primary vaccination coverage of 70% of the population.
worst case scenarios
The emergence of a variant capable of escaping acquired immunity, that is more transmissible or that causes greater mortality is pointed out by Tedros as the worst scenario in the current phase of the pandemic.
“This pandemic is not over and we need all leaders to step up efforts to increase population immunity and work collectively to get tests, treatments and vaccines for populations,” he said.
Although the new variants are touted as less dangerous for vaccinated people, WHO officials warn that patients are still susceptible to long-term Covid.
“The long-term Covid is devastating and debilitating for individuals – young and old – communities and economies. Governments need to take this seriously and provide integrated care, psychosocial support and sick leave for patients who suffer from it.”
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