WHO forecasts increased load on healthcare due to Omicron strain

WHO forecasts increased load on healthcare due to Omicron strain
# 15 December 2021 13:54 (UTC +04:00)

The higher proliferation of the Omicron strain than of the other coronavirus variants is expected to lead to the increased number of hospitalizations and strain on medical workers and healthcare systems, a representative at the WHO headquarters in Geneva told TASS on Wednesday, APA reports.

"Increased transmission due to Omicron is expected to lead to more hospitalizations. This causes strain on frontline workers and healthcare systems which can result in more deaths," the WHO press service said in response to a question by a TASS correspondent on the unfolding epidemiological situation in light of the spread of Omicron.

The press service reiterated that many countries still do not have capabilities to sequence the samples of biomaterial from all coronavirus cases or deaths, therefore the WHO does not exclude that it will be difficult to obtain exact information as to which strain caused a fatal outcome. At the same time, the organization expects that in the coming weeks more data will be received on case severity associated with Omicron. This information "is needed to fully understand the clinical picture of those infected with Omicron and WHO encourages countries to contribute to the collection and sharing of hospitalized patient data through the WHO COVID-19 Clinical Data Platform."

On November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant identified in South Africa as a "Variant of Concern" and assigned it the Greek letter Omicron. In its statement, the WHO noted that "this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning." At the December 14 briefing, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the Omicron strain was spreading at a rate previously unseen with other variants. The highest number of those infected with it has been detected in South Africa. To date, the new strain has been detected in 77 countries, including Russia.

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