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The Omicron strain is less severe than the Delta strain, but it is still deadly, according to the WHO.

The World Health Organization’s director-general warned on Wednesday that while the Omicron coronavirus variant is less severe than delta, it is nevertheless a deadly variety, especially for those who have not been vaccinated.

At a coronavirus webinar, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said the 15 million Covid-19 cases reported last week were an underestimate, but the death rate remained consistent and could be reduced by providing more vaccines to individuals.

“While the number of people admitted to hospitals is rising in most nations, it is still not at the levels observed in prior waves,” Tedros explained. “Around the world, the vast majority of persons hospitalized to hospitals are unvaccinated.”

While vaccines are still quite successful at preventing serious disease and death, he admitted that they do not completely prevent transmission.

The stable death toll, according to Tedros, is likely owing to Omicron’s lessened severity, as well as widespread immunity through vaccination or past infection.

According to the WHO, the massive increase in illnesses caused by the Omicron variation is fast displacing Delta in practically all nations.

Virus that is extremely dangerous

“But let’s be clear: while Omicron causes less severe disease than Delta, it’s still a hazardous virus,” Tedros warned. “Nearly 50,000 deaths every week is far too many.”

He stated that just because people have learned to live with the coronavirus does not mean that the amount of deaths is acceptable.

“We must not give this virus a free pass or raise the white flag,” Tedros added, “particularly while so many people around the world remain unprotected.”

More than 85% of individuals in Africa have yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, according to him.

“We won’t be able to terminate the pandemic’s acute phase until we close this gap,” the WHO director general stated.

He acknowledged improvements, noting that the COVAX facility, which works to eliminate vaccine inequities, shipped more than twice as many doses in December as it did in November.

“We expect COVAX to ship its 1 billionth vaccine dose in the coming days,” Tedros said, adding that some of the supply limitations experienced last year are beginning to ease.

“However, we still have a long way to go before we accomplish our goal of vaccinating 70% of the population of every country by the middle of this year,” he said.

Ninety countries have yet to reach the 40% vaccination target, with 36 of them vaccinating fewer than 10% of their populations.

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