Omicron variant is not a mild disease, says WHO expert

Omicron variant is not a mild disease, says WHO expert
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 12): American infectious disease epidemiologist and World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove has flagged that the Omicron variant is not a mild disease.

In a video clip uploaded on her Twitter feed, Kerkhove said with the emergence of Omicron that is circulating widely, and which is very efficiently transmitted between people is what is causing the sharp increase in cases (worldwide).

In a video clip uploaded on her Twitter feed, Kerkhove said that Omicron is very efficiently transmitted among people this is causing the sharp increase in cases worldwide.

She said it is overtaking the Delta variant quickly in terms of circulation.

Kerkhove stressed that one of the things to note is the number of cases actually being reported.

She said this had to do with access to tests, lack of adequate lifesaving diagnostic tests, challenges in surveillance around in the world plus people who are self-testing at home but don’t get registered.

“So we know the numbers are an underestimate.

"Omicron has been detected in countries where we have good sequencing and is likely overtaking Delta, and so Omicron is becoming dominant.

“What we are cautioning is that even though we have some information that Omicron causes less severe disease than Delta, it is not a mild disease, and this is really important as people are still being hospitalised for Omicron.

“So take this seriously. The narrative that it is the common cold is not true, the narrative it is just mild is not true, so we have to really fight against it,” she added.

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