WHO Chief Scientist Warns World To Prepare Against New COVID-19 Waves

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist on Friday warned the world to get prepared for new COVID-19 waves, noting that each new COVID variant is more transmissible and immune evasive, reported The Mint. The warning comes at a time when several Omicron variants are circulating at the same time.

“We need to be prepared for these COVID19 waves- each new variant will be more transmissible & immune evasive- higher numbers infected will translate into greater hospitalizations & sickness,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Twitter.

She called all countries to ready a data driven plan to quickly respond to changing situations.

The warning comes as mounting evidence suggests that Omicron subvariants -BA.4 and BA.5 – are infecting people who have been vaccinated.

The WHO chief scientist’s tweet was in response to a Twitter thread by Senior Advisor at World Bank Group Philip Schellekens who said that there is a global U-turn in COVID-19 mortality.

He said that after months of decline, the number of cases has started to rise again owing to given properties of BA.5, relaxed attitudes towards infection control and almost a quarter of the world not being up-to-date on vaccination.

Schellekens said the pandemic is intensifying in high-income countries and upper-middle-income countries are also seeing an increase in new case numbers.

He noted that the US, France, Italy, Germany and Japan are the drivers of the global surge among high-income countries and Brazil, an upper-middle-income country, is leading the developing world.

Earlier this week, the WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the coronavirus pandemic is “nowhere near over”, citing new waves around the world and voicing concern the virus is running freely.

Ghebreyesus said increasing case numbers will put further pressure on already stretched health systems and health workers. He urged the countries to resort to tried and tested measures like masking, improved ventilation and test and treat protocols.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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