Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Pandemic ‘nowhere near over,’ WHO chief says

Story at a glance

  • World Health Organization leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Tuesday that the pandemic is “nowhere near over” amid a slowdown in new reported cases.
  • WHO reported a 20 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases last week, signaling a levelling of viral spread.
  • But Tedros said stabilizing cases, combined with evidence that omicron causes less severe illness, could lead to mixed messaging and more deaths.

World Health Organization leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reportedly warned Tuesday that the pandemic is “nowhere near over” amid a slowdown in new reported cases after a global spike caused by the omicron variant. 

“In some countries, cases seem to have peaked, which gives hope that the worst of this latest wave is done with, but no country is out of the woods yet.” 

WHO reported a 20 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases last week, signaling a leveling of viral spread. The previous week, the organization recorded a 50 percent rise in daily cases, according to ABC. 

But Tedros said stabilizing cases, combined with evidence that omicron causes less severe illness, could lead to mixed messaging and more deaths.  

“Omicron may be less severe — on average, of course — but the narrative that it is mild disease is misleading, hurts the overall response, and costs more lives,” Tedros said.   

“Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalizations and deaths and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities,” he continued. “The virus is circulating far too intensely with many still vulnerable.” 


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Current WHO data shows there were more than 1.5 million new cases reported in the past day, sending the pandemic total beyond 328 million. Around 9.3 billion vaccine doses have been administered, as of Jan. 17.  


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