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Omicron could be milder than Delta: WHO chief
Published : Thursday, 9 December, 2021 at 6:44 PM, Count : 336

Omicron could be milder than Delta: WHO chief

Omicron could be milder than Delta: WHO chief

Early data indicates the Omicron coronavirus variant may more easily re-infect people who have already had the virus or been vaccinated than previous variants, but could also cause milder disease, the World Health Organization said.

“Emerging data from South Africa suggests increased risk of reinfection with Omicron,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday, adding “there is also some evidence that Omicron causes milder disease than Delta”.

But he stressed more data was needed before drawing firm conclusions, and urged countries everywhere to boost their surveillance to help provide a clearer picture of how Omicron is behaving.

The hopeful assessments came as global concern grew over the heavily mutated variant, which has forced dozens of nations to reimpose border restrictions and raised the possibility of a return to economically punishing lockdowns.

Even if it does turn out that Omicron causes less severe disease, Tedros warned against slacking off vigilance against the virus. “Any complacency now will cost lives,” he warned.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan agreed, pointing out that so far the data indicates the variant is “efficiently transmitting, and probably more efficiently transmitting even than the Delta variant”.

“That does not mean that the virus is unstoppable,” he said. “But it means the virus is more efficient at transmitting between human beings. And, therefore, we have to redouble our efforts to break those chains of transmission to protect ourselves to protect others.”





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