LONDON: The World Health Organization (WHO has issued a fresh warning saying that the spiralling Omicron cases around the world could increase the risk of the emergence of newer and more dangerous variants.
While the new Omicron variant is spreading like a wildfire around the world and does not seem to be much more serious than initially feared, WHO Senior Emergency Officer Catherine Smallwood has sounded an alarm that a surge in infection rates could have the opposite effect.
“The more Omicron spreads, the more likely it is to be transmitted and replicate. Currently, Omicron is deadly and potentially deadly … probably a little less than Delta. What’s next? Who will tell you to throw it away,” Smallwood said in an interview, according to a California Times report.
Due to its less severity, the scientists are hoping that Omicron could possibly overcome the pandemic and bring life back to normal. But, according to Smallwood, more than 100 million COVID cases have been enrolled in Europe since the start of the pandemic, and more than 5 million new cases were enrolled in the last week of 2021.
“We are at a very dangerous stage and we are seeing a very significant increase in infection rates in Western Europe, the full impact of which is not yet clear,” she said. The warning comes at a time when French researchers have detected a new Covid variant, probably of Cameroonian origin, and have temporarily named it as `IHU`.
The new variant from the lineage named B.1.640.2 is believed to have infected 12 people in the country, according to a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study supported by the French Government. It has 46 mutations and 37 deletions.
France reported a record-smashing 271,686 daily virus cases on Tuesday as omicron infections race across the country, burdening hospital staff and threatening to disrupt transport, schools and other services.
The French government is straining to avoid a new economically damaging lockdown and is instead trying to rush a vaccine pass bill through parliament in hopes that it is enough to protect hospitals.
Meanwhile, the omicron variant accounted for 95% of new coronavirus infections last week, according to US health officials’ latest estimates. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention posted its newest estimates Tuesday. The CDC uses genomic surveillance data to make projections about which versions of the COVID-19 viruses are causing the most of the new infections.
The latest estimates suggest a dramatic swing – in just one month – in which version of the coronavirus is most abundant. Beginning in late June, the delta variant was the main version causing US infections. The CDC said more than 99.5% of coronaviruses were delta as recently as the end of November.