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The current global wave of infections by the variant Ómicron may not go down as quickly as it has in South Africa, the first country where this new strain was detected, an expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) warned today.
“We must be cautious, because South Africa had a similar situation with the alpha variant in 2020,” he recalled at a press conference epidemiologist Abdi Mahamud, head of the WHO Incident Management Office.
In South Africa also “rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 have been thankfully very low“, Although also in this case, as in the previous one,” the data cannot be fully extrapolated, because each country is unique, “said the expert.
According to WHO figures, South Africa reached its last peak in cases in mid-December, after doubling the number of reported cases for several days, but since then those numbers have fallen at the same rate as they have risen.
Mahamud indicated that for now the Omicron variant has been detected in 128 countries of the planet, “although surely in the rest it would also have been reported if they had the technical capacity.”
The current wave is still characterized by a hopeful disconnect between cases (which are increasing exponentially in many territories) and deaths, which remain stable, he stressed.
“The main message is that if you are vaccinated you are protected“Added the epidemiologist, noting that vaccines continue to be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.
Mahamud added that different scientific studies are indicating that the omicron variant tends to infect only the upper part of the body, “unlike others that could affect the lungs and cause severe pneumonia.”
“This is good news, but more studies are required to confirm it,” the expert stressed.
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