Dr Mike Ryan: Acute phase of Covid pandemic could end next year

Dr Mike Ryan: Acute Phase Of Covid Pandemic Could End Next Year
The WHO's top emergency expert also said it was too early to draw conclusions on the severity of the Omicron variant. Photo: Getty Images
Share this article

Thomson Reuters

The acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic could end next year but the coronavirus will not disappear, the World Health Organisation's Mike Ryan said on Wednesday.

Dr Ryan, the WHO's top emergency expert, also said it was too early to draw conclusions on the severity of the Omicron variant because it was so far circulating largely among younger and less vulnerable age groups.


"What we haven't seen is the Omicron wave fully established in the broader population," he said.

Global infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period, data showed on Wednesday, as the Omicron variant raced out of control.

Almost 900,000 cases were detected on average each day around the world between December 22nd and 28th, with myriad countries posting new all-time highs in the previous 24 hours, including the United States, Australia and many in Europe.

'Twin threats'

The simultaneous circulation of the Delta and Omicron variants is creating a "tsunami of cases", WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing on Wednesday.


"Delta and Omicron are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalisation and deaths," said Dr Tedros.

"I am highly concerned that Omicron, being highly transmissible and spreading at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases."

Covid in Europe: Record cases for France, Italy, B...
Read More

Dr Tedros repeated his call for countries to share vaccines more equitably and warned that the emphasis on booster doses in richer countries could leave poorer nations short of jabs.

He said the WHO was campaigning for every country to hit a target of 70 per cent vaccine coverage by the middle of 2022, which would help end the acute phase of the pandemic.

New Year's Eve will mark the second anniversary of China alerting the WHO to 27 cases of "viral pneumonia" of unknown origin in the city of Wuhan.

More than 281 million people have since been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and more than five million have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com