On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that 23 countries reported extremely mutated new Covid variant omicron cases. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, told reporters in Geneva that at least 23 countries have now reported cases of omicron. He added that they expect that number to increase. Tedros continued by saying that WHO takes this spread seriously, and every country should take it seriously. However, he added that the spread of the virus is not surprising. In fact, this virus will continue to spread as long as people allow it to continue spreading.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the first case of the new strain reached the U.S. in California. On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor, told reporters that the person was fully vaccinated coming back from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive after seven days.
The variant South Africa reported to WHO last week has over 31 mutations to the spike protein. According to the WHO, some mutations are highly transmissible and appear to be weak in terms of antibody protection.
Tedros added that there is still more to study about omicron’s effect. Information is yet to be found on disease severity, transmission, and the effectiveness of the current vaccines, tests, and therapeutics. Several WHO consulting groups gathered to evaluate the emerging data and prioritize the investigations needed to solve these issues in the last few days.
Tedros also said that countries and people could not stop omicron transmission if they did not do what they needed to stop delta transmission.
He urged nations to speed up the vaccination process and other measures. He remarked that countries’ low vaccine rate and lack of testing is a way of breeding and mutating variants.
Tedros said that the organization supports countries to fully fund the process to ensure equal access to vaccines, tests, and necessary medication worldwide.
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