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Omicron May Cause Increased Reinfection, But Milder Disease: WHO

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Omicron reinfection rate high: World Health Organisation chief stated in his statement that the Omicron variant may cause disease that is less dangerous than caused by the Delta variant. The chief also said that they need more evidence to firmly believe in these speculations and asked countries to carefully monitor the condition of the variant.

The Omicron variant was flagged by South Africa on November 24 and it was soon deemed as a “Variant of Concern” by WHO. Ever since several studies have emerged regarding the variant offering contrasting claims. WHO has time and again insisted on the availability of more data on Omicron. So far the variant has been found in as many as 57 countries.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of WHO, said that the data received from South Africa shows a high risk of Omicron variant reinfection. But there is also some evidence that suggests that the variant may cause milder disease than the Delta variant.


Suggested Reading: Highly Unlikely: WHO On Omicron Resistance To Vaccines That Are Currently Available


Early data from South Africa suggests that the people who have been infected by other variants of COVID-19 earlier and those who have taken the vaccine may still easily be reinfected by the virus. According to the WHO chief, countries need to keep a check on the variant to collect more evidence and get a bigger picture of the situation.

WHO also warned that although the diseases may be mild, countries should not show any leniency. Strict precautions should be followed to avoid any risk to human lives.

Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, said that the transmission of the Omicron variant infection is supposed to be stronger than the previous variants. It may spread more easily but that does not mean that it can’t be defeated.

Even with milder disease, a steep rise in the number of sick people will ultimately increase pressure on the health and medical systems and can probably increase deaths.

In India, the first two cases of Omicron were reported on December 2, in the state of Karnataka. Ever since, other states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat too have reported cases of this new variant. Apart from India and South Africa – the country that first reported this new coronavirus variant, the disease has also spread to countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Australia, Netherlands and many more.