WHO warns that we are not ready to treat Covid like the flu – RT World News

The World Health Organization has said that the ongoing spread of Omicron across Europe poses a “huge amount of uncertainty” about the pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) senior emergency officer for Europe has urged governments not to treat Covid as endemic because of the risk that the virus “develops quite rapidly” and presents “new challenges.”

Dr. Catherine Smallwood issued the warning Tuesday, calling for continued vigilance due to the impact of the Omicron strain of Covid-19.

As Europe has seen 7 million new cases of Covid in the first week of 2022 alone, the UN health agency warned that Omicron could infect more than half of Europeans within the next two months.

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Given the spread and continued uncertainty about the path of the virus, Smallwood warned against recent calls to treat the pandemic as endemic.

“We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is developing quite rapidly, which poses new challenges. We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic,” Smallwood listed.

The concerns raised by Smallwood about downgrading Covid follow a statement by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to change the way Covid is tracked. Referring to how the virus’ mortality rate is declining, Sanchez suggested that Covid be tracked in the same way as the flu.

“I believe we have the conditions, with caution, to open the debate slowly at the technical level and at the health professional level.” said Sanchez.

Smallwood’s concerns were reiterated by Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, who said on Tuesday that countries are facing one “closing opportunity window” to protect their healthcare systems from being overwhelmed by Covid. His comment was triggered by how “Omicron is moving faster and wider than any other variant we’ve seen.”

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