Covid-19: the Omicron variant detected in 57 countries

Most of the cases identified are currently linked to travel, but that could change as more information becomes available, the WHO says. The Omicron variant has been identified in 57 countries around the world, coinciding with a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in southern Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. “To date, Omicron cases have been reported in 57 countries across all WHO regions. Most of the cases identified in these countries are currently linked to travel, but this could change as more information becomes available “, underlined the WHO in its last epidemiological bulletin, noting that” the variant Omicron could have a growth advantage over other variants in circulation ”. But at this point, the UN World Health Agency does not yet know “if this will result in increased transmissibility”. One way for the WHO to recall that the data on the clinical severity of the Omicron variant are also limited. Citing the 212 infections detected in 18 countries of the European Union, the WHO notes that the course of the disease was “asymptomatic or mild”. “While South Africa experienced an 82% increase in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus (from 502 to 912) during the week of November 28 to December 4, 2021, the proportion of these hospitalizations due to to the Omicron variant, ”said the WHO. In its latest weekly epidemiological report, the UN World Health Agency stresses that additional data is still necessary to determine the degree of severity of Covid-19 cases linked to contamination by the Omicron variant as well as to understand whether the characteristic mutations are likely to reduce the protection conferred by the vaccines. “Even if the severity (of cases of the coronavirus developed after contamination by this variant) is equivalent or potentially less than for the Delta variant (currently the majority in most countries), there should be an increase in hospitalizations when more people will be contaminated and there will be a time lag between the progression of the number of cases and the increase in the number of deaths, ”said the WHO, adding that additional information is needed to fully understand the clinical picture of people infected with Omicron.