The World Health Organization (WHO) Tuesday admitted Omicron variant of the coronavirus was already the dominant one worldwide, accounting for almost 60% of the cases.
The new strain, which two weeks ago had only been detected in 1.6% of patients, is already present in 58.5% of the analyzes carried out, thus exceeding Delta's performance to become the dominant version.
The weekly epidemiological report published Tuesday by the WHO shows that more than 208,000 out of 357,000 tests carried out by the global network of GISAID laboratories in the last 30 days had detected the omicron variant, while 147,000 (41%) corresponded to the Delta variant, which in the previous weeks still accounted for 96% of the cases and was the main dominant strain for much of the year 2021.
The WHO report also highlights that the omicron variant is capable of evading immunity, since there is transmission even between those vaccinated and people who had previously overcome the disease. On the other hand, Omicron is less serious than previous forms of the disease, despite which another WHO report also published Tuesday has warned about the health risks posed by Omicron, which continue to be very high, since it can still lead to hospitalizations and deaths in vulnerable populations.
The daily record of infections in more than two years of the pandemic stood by Jan. 6 at over 2.6 million global positives, a figure that the WHO itself recognizes could be much higher in reality due to the many infections diagnosed with domestic tests and not reported.
The WHO also admitted the Omicron variant was on track to infecting more than half of Europeans, after more than seven million cases were reported in the first week of 2022.
“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50 per cent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next six-eight weeks,” WHO’s Europe director Hans Kluge told a news briefing.