Omicron BA.5 dominant subvariant, Covid hospitalisations rising, says WHO expert
Shining BD Desk || Shining BD
Omicron, the latest variant of concern, is dominant worldwide, the World Health Organization’s infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, has said, underlining that about half of the cases are linked to BA.5 sublineage. “And there are further sub lineages of BA.5 as this virus continues to evolve,” she added in a remark that may further raise concerns about further mutation of the virus, which has killed over 63 lakh people in two years.
“We are seeing a continued increase in case detections of COVID-19. It’s the fifth or sixth week in a row where we’re seeing increases in the reported number of cases,” she said in a briefing on Friday.
Counting various factors that may have contributed to the evolution of the virus,the expert underscored the “intense mixing of individuals in absence of mitigation factors, wearing masks and distancing.”
“Deaths are also increasing. In the last five weeks, we have seen deaths among groups that are not well-protected with the vaccine, meaning they have not been vaccinated. About half of the deaths were from Americans and about 33 per cent of the deaths were from Europe.
Of the top 50 countries that have reported an increase in deaths, 35 countries have seen a 100 per cent increase in deaths, as per the WHO data. “Three countries had more than a 1,000 per cent increase.”
Masks, social distancing, vaccination, work-from-home for people who are not well, are among the measures that have been yet again reiterated.
As per the WHO’s weekly bulletin, which was released on July 27, the number of weekly cases reported globally in the July 18-24 week was similar to the number reported last week, with over 6.6 million new cases. “Likewise, the number of new weekly deaths was similar to the number reported during the previous week, with over 12 600 fatalities,” it said.
At the country level, the highest numbers of new weekly cases were reported from Japan (969 068 new cases; +73%), the United States of America (860 097 new cases; -3%), Germany (565 518 new cases; -16%), Italy (531 327 new cases; -26%), and France (508 620 new cases; -27%).
The United States of America reported the highest number of deaths (2 637 new deaths; +3%), followed by Brazil (1 396 new deaths; -20%), Italy (952 new deaths; +21%), Spain (810 new deaths; +33%), and France (737 new deaths; +34%).