Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned in a press conference on Friday, 7 January, that the Omicron version of the coronavirus should not be disregarded as “mild,” and that it is killing people all over the world.
Tedros went on to say that while Omicron is less severe on fully vaccinated persons than the Delta version, the increase in infections is placing strain on healthcare systems throughout the world.
“While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorised as mild,” said Tedros, as per the AFP report.
He added, “In fact, the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.”
The WHO chief warned that these numbers are an approximation due to the pause in testing during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Tedros slammed the rich nations for hoarding vaccines and said that a few booster shots in smaller nations will not end the pandemic but ensuring vaccination of the billions, who do not have access to it, will.
The WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove reminded people not to be sloppy and step up the measures they were already taking to protect themselves against the virus. She added that it was shocking that people were not wearing masks properly.
“”It needs to cover your nose and mouth… wearing a mask below your chin is useless,” she said.