The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reinforced once again this Wednesday, 16, during a press conference, that the pandemic is still far from over and that the increases in cases of covid reported in Europe and Asia in recent weeks represent just the tip of the iceberg.
According to Tedros Adhanom, the numbers that have risen again in some countries do not represent reality, because the rate of tests carried out has dropped a lot.
“These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means that the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” the WHO chief said.
What’s the cause?
For the UN health agency, a combination of factors is causing this rise in the transmission curve, including the Ômicron variant, which is highly transmissible, and the BA.2 subvariant, and the loosening of restrictive and social distancing measures.
WHO technical director Maria Van Kerkhove also cited that low vaccination rates in some countries, driven in part by an “enormous amount of misinformation”, also explain this increase in infections.
“We understand that the world needs and wants to continue, but this virus spreads very efficiently, the more it spreads, the more it will mutate. The good news is that we have tools, such as mask use and distancing, and we know that vaccines save lives. It’s a layered approach,” said Maria Van Kerkhove.
According to the WHO, globally, the number of new Covid-19 cases has increased by 8% compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases and more than 43,000 new deaths reported from March 7-13.
WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan explained that a new growth in cases is expected as there is a natural decline in immunity from vaccines given several months ago.
“He [vírus] will survive in these pockets of susceptibility, move from one location to another. It can lie dormant in one community until another becomes susceptible,” Ryan said.