HeathcareOmicron | The WHO considers that "we still...

Omicron | The WHO considers that “we still have two weeks of alert left”


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The director of the Department of Public Health and the Environment at the World Health Organization (WHO), María Neira, has warned that there are still “two or a few weeks of alert” due to the rise in infections of COVID-19 by the variant Omicron.

“The news will be different in a few weeks perhaps, but now we must continue with that alert, especially so as not to overload the Primary Care centers, which ”, has continued.

This was the opinion of the expert in an interview on Radio Nacional de España (RNE) collected by Europa Press. “It will be necessary to see if in the next two weeks we will reach the peak”, Neira has advanced, to add that after this time, “It is necessary to see how we continue not only responding, but also preparing to reduce to the maximum the risk in later weeks”.

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Despite this, Neira has been optimistic when predicting that 2022 will be the year it ends “This phase so acute and. Thus, he added, it will be necessary “to use the diagnoses, treatments, prevention, vaccination and intelligence developed so far so that this is definitely the year where COVID-19 does not represent such an important danger.”

In this sense, it has recognized that the WHO is studying the possible lower severity of Ómicron, but that it is not surprised by the speed of spread of this variant. “We look at two important variables: speed of transmission and virulence. The speed in the. On the other hand, the lower virulence is not 100 percent proven, but we hope that it will be confirmed as soon as possible ”, said Neira.

“It would be difficult at this point to think of an eradication of the virus”

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Therefore, it has recognized that “It would be difficult at this point to think of an eradication of the virus”, since, in his opinion, it will continue to circulate, although with different effects, due to vaccinations and changes in transmission. “He will probably stay and we will have to be prepared.”, has added.

Regarding the reduction of quarantines, implemented last week in Spain, Neira has opined that “they are measures that one can adapt depending on the situation ”. “It is about using the information we collect every day, observing the evolution of the virus in an intelligent and rational way, and , he has argued.

In this case, it has continued, “With such a rapid transmission, with a decrease in hospitalizations for severe cases, it could be a measure to be studied”. It is not a reduction in quarantine “in a very important way”, but it is in the number of days “Due to that information that we are having”, has reiterated. “For example, it could be a measure for contacts that have tested negative”, has added.

‘Back to school’ after Christmas

On going back to school after Christmas, he argued that “each country has to make its risk assessment and adapt according to its epidemiological situation. However, he recalled that the WHO has defended from the beginning that, whenever possible, schools must remain open. “We know that the positive impact of having them open is always better than the collateral effects it could have”, Neira has settled.

“We recommend that, with an important risk assessment and rapid case detection management, placing great emphasis on ventilation whenever possible, having schools open is”. Now it has continued, “There are some tactics, such as postponing a few days, or identifying a hybrid model, which, depending on each country and each situation, will have to be evaluated and decided.”

Finally, with regard to the co-infection of COVID-19 and flu, detected for the first time in Israel, he has pointed out that “The scientific community has yet to collect more information.” “There are working groups moving forward to analyze these data as soon as possible, digest them and give them to the public opinion, but it is necessary to wait”, has emphasized.

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