Good news about Omicron from the World Health Organization… and about Covid-19 from the British Ministry of Health

Video duration 03 minutes 52 seconds

Yesterday, Tuesday, a World Health Organization official said that more evidence shows that the mutated Omicron strain of the Corona virus infects the upper respiratory tract, and causes milder symptoms than previous mutations. The British Minister of Public Health also said that Covid-19 patients are showing less severe symptoms.

We start with the World Health Organization, as the director of accident management at the organization, Abdi Mahmoud, told reporters in Geneva, “We are seeing more and more studies that indicate that Omicron affects the upper part of the body, unlike other mutations that can cause severe pneumonia.” This may be “good news”.

However, he said, the rapid spread of Omicron means that it will be the dominant mutation in many places within weeks, posing a threat in countries where a large number of the population has not yet been vaccinated.

His comments about the reduced risk are consistent with other data including a study from South Africa, one of the first countries where Omicron was detected.

In response to a question about whether Omicron will need a special vaccine, the Director of Incident Management at the World Health Organization, Abdi Mahmoud, said that it is too early to determine this, but he stressed that this decision needs global coordination and should not be taken by the commercial sector alone.

COVID-19 patients show less severe symptoms

We move to Britain, where the Minister of State for Vaccines and Public Health said that those being treated in British hospitals for Covid-19 disease are showing less severe symptoms than they did before, and she said that there is no need to impose further restrictions at this stage.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted imposing strict lockdown measures in England ahead of New Year’s, at a time when the mutant Omicron is causing a record increase in cases.

Despite the increased rate of hospitalizations, officials did not track the course of daily cases, which may reflect the effect of receiving vaccinations and booster doses, the potential for lower omicron severity and the time between hospitalization and person-to-person admission.

“If you look at the people who are being treated in hospital at this moment, you will find that they are admitted in a less severe condition than it was before,” Minister Maggie Thorpe told Sky News.

She added that Johnson’s “Plan B” in December was working.

And she continued, “The numbers occupying hospital beds have reached nearly half compared to last year… and this shows the strength of vaccines.”

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