Maria Van Kerkhove, The technical director of the COVID-19 response at the WHO Emergency Unit, said Friday that the coronavirus strain Omicron has been identified in 38 countries, but Delta is still the dominant variant of COVID-19, Sputnik reported.
“We have reports of Omicron in 38 countries in all 6 WHO regions, and we are seeing a growing trend in Omicron in South Africa. So there is an indication that the infectivity has increased,” Sputnik quoted Van Kerkhove as saying.
Kerkhove also stressed that the delta strain of the coronavirus remains dominant.
The WHO has no indication that Omicron would differ from other strains of SARS COVID, he said.
The WHO also warned of a possible increase in infections, including the Omicron strain, over the next two weeks.
The infectivity, severity, risk of re-infection, immunosuppression, clinical presentation, response to other available countermeasures, etc. are currently being investigated.
Preliminary evidence suggests a higher infectivity and a possible immune response, which may lead to an increase in cases. Despite the change in severity, the increase in cases alone could lead to overwhelming demand for health care systems and lead to increased morbidity and mortality, the WHO Southeast Asia said in a press release on Friday.