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WHO says Omicron could generate more dangerous variants


Dince we’ve heard about him, Omicron has made his mark. During the month of December, it swept over France and the whole world, exploding the number of cases detected. However, the situation is much less serious than in the early hours of the epidemic, the Omicron variant being less dangerous and pathogenic than its predecessors. On the other hand, warned the World Health Organization on Tuesday, January 4, its rapid development could increase the risk of the appearance of a new, potentially more dangerous variant.

Catherine Smallwood, an emergency manager at the WHO, told AFP that skyrocketing infection rates could have the opposite effect. “The more Omicron spreads, the more it is transmitted and the more it replicates, the more likely it is to generate a new variant,” she said. “Currently Omicron is fatal, it can cause death […] Maybe a little less than Delta, but who can say what the next variant might generate? “

Europe has recorded over 100 million cases of Covid since the start of the pandemic, and over five million new cases in the last week of 2021, which “overshadows almost everything we’ve seen so far.” now, ”added Smallwood. “We are in a very dangerous phase, the rates of contamination are increasing very significantly in Western Europe, and the real impact of this is not yet clear,” she said.

While “at an individual level the risk of hospitalization is probably less” with the Omicron variant than with Delta, overall Omicron could pose a greater threat due to the number of cases, she continued. “When the number of cases increases so significantly, it is likely that many more people with serious illnesses will end up in hospital or even die,” she said.

The United Kingdom, which announced Tuesday to have identified for the first time more than 200,000 new daily cases, is threatened with a hospital crisis due to the lack of personnel caused by the wave of Omicron. Neighboring France should approach 300,000 cases on Tuesday, according to the authorities. Ms Smallwood said she expected similar scenarios in other European countries: “Even in large, sophisticated health systems there are real challenges right now, and it is likely that this will happen again in the future. region as Omicron leads to an increase in cases. “