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WHO says omicron is life threatening for unvaccinated, aged, underlying circumstances

A affected person is transported out of an ambulance in entrance of the emergency room of the Cotugno Infectious hospital, which has been overwhelmed because of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, Campania, Italy, Jan. 6, 2022.

Salvatore Laporta | KONTROLAB | LightRocket | Getty Photos

The World Well being Group on Tuesday stated the Covid omicron variant may end up in life-threatening sickness for the unvaccinated, the aged and other people with underlying circumstances.

Dr. Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s well being emergencies program, stated unvaccinated folks face the next danger that an omicron an infection will make them severely sick and and probably even kill them.

“Omicron nonetheless represents an enormous menace to their life and an enormous menace to their well being,” Ryan stated of the unvaccinated throughout a Q&A livestreamed Tuesday on the WHO’s social media channels.

Ryan stated vaccinated folks, alternatively, typically expertise gentle sickness in the event that they get a breakthrough an infection.

“Folks ought to actually have a look at this by way of actually severely contemplating getting on the market and getting vaccinated,” Ryan stated.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, stated the aged and other people with underlying circumstances face an elevated danger of loss of life from omicron in contrast with different teams.

“We do know that mortality will increase with omicron with growing age,” Van Kerkhove stated. “We even have information from some international locations that present that individuals with at the least one underlying situation are at an elevated danger of hospitalization and loss of life, even in case you have omicron as in comparison with delta.”

Van Kerkhove stated a decrease proportion of individuals are dying from Covid throughout the omicron wave, and the general danger of extreme illness and hospitalization is decrease in contrast with delta. Nonetheless, she cautioned that much less severity doesn’t imply omicron solely causes gentle sicknesses.

“It isn’t only a gentle illness,” Van Kerkhove stated. “That is actually necessary as a result of individuals are nonetheless being hospitalized for omicron.”

Van Kerkhove warned folks shouldn’t turn out to be fatalistic and resign themselves to an infection, cautioning that the long-term well being implications of catching omicron stay unknown. She stated folks ought to get vaccinated, put on a well-fitting masks, keep away from crowds and make money working from home if attainable.

Ryan stated well being outcomes from viral infections typically rely upon an individual’s baseline stage well being, together with whether or not the immune system is powerful or not. Folks with diabetes, for instance, are usually not as effectively outfitted to combat off the virus.

“We are able to undoubtedly say that an omicron variant causes, on common, a much less extreme illness in any human being — however that is on common,” Ryan stated. “There are a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals around the globe in hospital as we converse with the omicron variant, and for them that is a really extreme illness.”

Van Kerkhove stated omicron has been detected in each nation the place there’s good genetic sequencing and is probably going current in each nation. She stated omicron is overtaking delta worldwide and changing into dominant.

The WHO reported 15 million new infections and 43,000 deaths worldwide for the week ended Jan. 3.

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