The WHO has said that that figures showing a global increase in Cpvod-19 infections could signal a far bigger problem because some countries are reporting a decline in testing rates, urging countries to be cautious against the virus.
Covid instances began to rise around the world last week, according to the WHO, after a month of reduction, with lockdowns in Asia and China’s Jilin province struggling to contain an outbreak.
According to the WHO, the increases were caused by a mix of reasons, including the highly transmissible Omicron variation and its cousin, the BA.2 sub-variant, as well as the raising of public health and social policies.
“These increase are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we’re seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” WHO’s head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.
Low vaccination rates in some countries, fueled in part by a “massive quantity of misinformation,” contributed to the spike, according to WHO authorities.
From March 7 to 13, the number of new infections increased by 8 per cent globally, with 11 million new cases and little over 43,000 new fatalities reported. It’s the first increase since late January.
The WHO’s Western Pacific area, which includes South Korea and China, saw the highest increase, with cases up 25 per cent and deaths up 27 per cent.
Africa experienced a 12 per cent increase in new cases and a 14 per cent increase in deaths, while Europe saw a 2 per cent increase in cases but no increase in deaths.
Other locations, such as the eastern Mediterranean, saw a decrease in incidence, despite a 38 per cent increase in deaths connected to a prior infection spike.
A number of scientists have expressed alarm that Europe is in the midst of another coronavirus outbreak, with cases increasing in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom since the beginning of March.
BA.2 appears to be the most transmissible strain thus far, according to WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove.
However, there are no indications that it causes more severe disease, and there is no evidence that any other new variants are to blame for the increase in instances.
In Europe, the picture is likewise not uniform. In Denmark, for example, a small spike in cases was seen in the first half of February, owing to BA.2, but it immediately dropped.
However, researchers have begun to warn that the United States may soon experience a wave similar to that witnessed in Europe, which might be triggered by BA.2, the easing of restrictions, and waning protection from vaccines given several months ago.
“I agree with the easing of restrictions, because you can’t think of it as an emergency after two years,” said Antonella Viola, professor of immunology at Italy’s University of Padua.
“We just have to avoid thinking that COVID is no longer there. And therefore maintain the strictly necessary measures, which are essentially the continuous monitoring and tracking of cases, and the maintenance of the obligation to wear a mask in closed or very crowded places.”
(Adapted from CBCNews.com)