The onset of northern winter could see a spike in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19


WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke again on Wednesday for vaccination to reduce the spread of the disease.

He urged people to get the shot or, if they’re already vaccinated, to get even more boosters.

Variants still a threat

“We are now seeing a welcome decline in reported deaths worldwide. But as the colder weather in the Northern Hemisphere approaches, it is reasonable to expect an increase in hospital admissions and deaths in the coming monthsTedros said during his regular briefing from Geneva.

“Sub-variants of Omicron are more transferable than their predecessors, and the risk of even more transmissible and more dangerous variants remains.”

Vaccination rates among the most at-risk groups — such as health professionals and the elderly — also remain too low, he added, especially in poorer countries.

Don’t pretend it’s over

Tedros reminded people around the world to continue taking action to reduce the risk of infection — even if they had already been vaccinated. Steps include avoiding crowds, especially indoors, and wearing a mask.

“Living with COVID-19 does not mean pretending the pandemic is over. If you’re going to walk in the rain without an umbrella, pretending it’s not raining won’t help you. You will still get wet. Similarly, pretending there is no deadly virus circulating is a huge riskk,” he said.

Nearly 600 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, about 2.5 years after the pandemic.

Europe reaches the limit of 250 million

Europe is expected to reach 250 million cases within weeks, said Dr. Hans Kluge, director of the WHO office for the region. Like Tedros, he also anticipates the winter “wave” in cases.

“We have made great strides in tackling the pandemic. But the virus is still circulating widely and still hospitalizing people, still causes too many preventable deathsabout 3,000 in the past week alone, about a third of the total recorded worldwide,” said Dr. Kluge in a statement Tuesday.

© WHO/Khaled Mostafa

A doctor looks at an image of a monkeypox lesion on his computer screen at a sexual health clinic in Lisbon, Portugal.

Monkeypox newest

Europe is also home to about one third of the global caseload for the ongoing Monkeypox outbreak, with 22,000 confirmed cases in 43 countries.

America is good for more than half of all reported cases, with several countries continuing to see an increase in infections.

The WHO noted that some European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, are also seeing a marked decrease in infections.

This development demonstrates the effectiveness of public health interventions and community involvement to detect infections and prevent transmission, the agency said.

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