Many parts of Asia and Europe are witnessing a sharp Covid surge once again. The infection rate has jumped by 8 per cent this week. WHO said that coronavirus infections are increasing again due to 3 key reasons.
Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO official, highlighted various reasons causing the surge of covid 19 cases. She said, “We still have Omicron which is transmitting at a very intense level around the world. We have sub-lineages of Omicron BA.1 and BA.2. BA.2 is more transmissible, and this is the most transmissible variant we have seen of the SARS-COV2 virus to date."
According to the data of the UN Health agency, in the last 30 days, more than 400,000 sequences were sampled. Out of which 99.9% are Omicron.
“We do not see an increase in severity with BA.2. However, with huge numbers of cases, you will see increased hospitalisations and we have seen this in the country after country," Dr Van Kerkhove pointed out.
Relaxing social measures and lifting public health is the other factor contributing to the increased number of covid cases. She added “Lifting of the use of masks, lifting of physical distancing, lifting of restrictions limiting people’s movement, this provides the virus an opportunity to spread",
The third factor Maria Van highlighted by explaining the confusion among people about the latest omicron variant. “The misinformation that Omicron is mild, misinformation that the pandemic is over, misinformation that this is the last variant that we will have to deal with.”
WHO officials also mentioned the importance of vaccination by talking about the majority of deaths occurring the unvaccinated people. She also highlights the older individuals and people with comorbidities who did not the full course of vaccination. Dr Van explained that as per the data shown COVID-19 vaccines remain ‘incredibly’ effective to prevent severe disease and death, including against Omicron.
Suggesting solutions, she said that the world needs a strong surveillance system to identify the evolution of covid 19. Despite the challenges, we still need to maintain testing, robust sequencing and sharing of geographic representation of the sequences.
“We need strong surveillance to detect SARSCoV2 variants so that globally we can adjust interventions as needed. Now is the time to enhance the systems we put in place for COVID19, not dismantle them. We can do this. We must." she said.