‘Tsunami’ of Omicron & Delta COVID-19 cases will push health systems towards collapse, warns WHO

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New Delhi: With COVID-19 cases rising sharply in India and the rest of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday warned of a “tsunami” of Omicron and Delta COVID-19 cases that would “push health systems to the brink of collapse. “”

The health body said Delta and Omicron were “the type of concern” that was driving the number of new cases to record highs, and therefore, increased hospitalizations and deaths.

“I am highly concerned that Omicron, being more permeable, is moving around at the same time as the delta, causing a tsunami of cases,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“This is and will continue to be a tremendous pressure on exhausted healthcare workers and health systems on the verge of collapse,” he said.

Tedros said the pressure on health systems was due to new patients of COVID-19 and large numbers of healthcare workers falling ill with the virus. “Unrelated people are many times more at risk of dying from either type,” he said.

Notably, health systems around the world are already being stretched to their limits. Now, WHO’s latest statement comes within days when it said the overall risk related to the new COVID-19 variant Omicron is very high.

On Tuesday, the United Nations health agency also said rising cases of omicrons could overwhelm the health care system, although early studies suggest it causes mild illness.

In its weekly epidemiological report released late on Tuesday (28 December), the WHO said around 4.99 million new cases were reported worldwide from 20-26 December.

Meanwhile, several states across India have imposed restrictions, including imposing night curfews, to restrict the spread of the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19. Almost all the states and union territories of the country have registered a huge jump in the cases of coronavirus in the last few days.

First published:December 29, 2021, 10:58 pm

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