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COVID-19.- World Health Organisation discards endemic desease consideration and warns more variants can arise

While some Governments in developed countries, like the one currently leading Spain, are pushing for dealing with COVID-19 in a way close to common influenza (an endemic desease), the World Health Organisation has pointed today that we are not at all at the point to consider COVID-19 either as an endemic or a mild desease.

“This virus is on its way to becoming endemic, there’s no question about that, but we are very much right now in the middle of this pandemic. The transmision levels that we see right now and the intensity and the streght that we see and the level of impact that this cases are having or our essential medical services, on our central services, in hospitalization rates, which are increasing in a number of countries and now certainly we see less rates of hospitalization, but the sahre volume of cases is really putting a heavy burden on helathcare systems. So the impact that we are seing is really quite substantial”, María van Kerkhove (Technical Director of the response to COVID-19 at WHO) said at the press conference on COVID-19 held today by the WHO at Geneva.

Van Kerkhove pointed out as well “There will not be an endemic situation in one country while in the rest of the world there is still a pandemic.”

“There is still a lot of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving quite fast, imposing new challenges,” Catherine Smallwood (WHO Director of Health Emergencies for Europe) said at a press conference last Tuesday. “We are certainly not at the point where we can call it endemic. It may become endemic in due course, but pin it in 2022 is a bit difficult at this stage. “

Several expert epidemiologists from the WHO and various universities have underscored that since vaccines do not prevent infections 100% and in large areas of the world a sufficient percentage of the vaccinated population has not been reached, new variants of the virus could still emerge even more lethal and contagious than Omicron.

Specifically, Bruce Aylward (Senior Advisor to the Director General on Organizational Change at WHO) said today at the press conference held in Geneva by the World Health Organization: “Omicron will probably not be the latest variant of covid-19. We don’t know yet, but the more the virus circulates, the more likely it is that a new variant, more deadly than Omicron, will emerge.”

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during the WHO press conference held today. Photo capure from the video of the press conference provided to Eastwind by WHO

Mike Ryan (Executive Director of the Emergency Program at WHO) warned today at the press conference on COVID-19 offered by the World Health Organisation that “Omicron may be less serious as an individual virus, but that does not mean that it is a mild disease.
There are many, many people all over the world as we speak in hospitals, in intensive care units, with ventilators gasping for breath on oxygen. “

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said more or less the same today at the press conference to update the information on COVID-19 held in Geneva. I provide the full video of WHO Director General’s speech within the links included at the end of this post.

Some days before, WHO Director General had explained as well that COVID-19 will become an endemic deseases but still we are not at that point.

Image over the headline.- Maria van Kerkhove (Technical Director of the response to COVID-19 at WHO). Caption from the video of the press conference.

Related Eastwind links:

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declarations on 12th January 2022

Omicron variant less serious than Delta but no way a mild desease.

Till vaccination is at the needed levels all over the world there are risks for other variants of COVID-19 to appear.

María van Kerkhove declarations.- COVID 19 on the way to become an endemic desease, but still not at this point

Related Eastwind links (Spanish edition):

COVID-19.- Sanidad, en la senda de sustituir el control de pandemia por el de endemia, a pesar de las advertencias de la OMS

(The Ministry of Health on the path to apply endemic controls to fight COVID-10 in Spain)

Related external links:

WHO tweet.- Maria van Kerkhove declarations on 11th January (video)

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