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 mentioned the Covid omicron variant can lead to life-threatening sickness for the unvaccinated, the aged and folks with underlying circumstances.
Dr. Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s well being emergencies program, mentioned unvaccinated individuals face a better threat that an omicron an infection will make them severely sick and and presumably even kill them.
“Omicron nonetheless represents a large menace to their life and a large menace to their well being,” Ryan mentioned of the unvaccinated throughout a Q&A livestreamed Tuesday on the WHO’s social media channels.
Ryan mentioned vaccinated individuals, however, typically expertise delicate sickness in the event that they get a breakthrough an infection.
“Folks ought to actually have a look at this when it comes to actually significantly contemplating getting on the market and getting vaccinated,” Ryan mentioned.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, mentioned the aged and folks with underlying circumstances face an elevated threat of loss of life from omicron in contrast with different teams.
“We do know that mortality will increase with omicron with rising age,” Van Kerkhove mentioned. “We even have knowledge from some international locations that present that folks with a minimum of one underlying situation are at an elevated threat of hospitalization and loss of life, even in case you have omicron as in comparison with delta.”
Van Kerkhove mentioned a decrease proportion of persons are dying from Covid through the omicron wave, and the general threat of extreme illness and hospitalization is decrease in contrast with delta. Nonetheless, she cautioned that much less severity doesn’t imply omicron solely causes delicate diseases.
“It isn’t only a delicate illness,” Van Kerkhove mentioned. “That is actually essential as a result of persons are nonetheless being hospitalized for omicron.”
Van Kerkhove warned individuals shouldn’t change into fatalistic and resign themselves to an infection, cautioning that the long-term well being implications of catching omicron stay unknown. She mentioned individuals ought to get vaccinated, put on a well-fitting masks, keep away from crowds and do business from home if doable.
Ryan mentioned well being outcomes from viral infections typically rely on an individual’s baseline stage well being, together with whether or not the immune system is powerful or not. Folks with diabetes, for instance, will not be 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 mentioned. “There are a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals all over the world in hospital as we converse with the omicron variant, and for them that is a really extreme illness.”
Van Kerkhove mentioned omicron has been detected in each nation the place there’s good genetic sequencing and is probably going current in each nation. She mentioned 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.