BA.2 appears to be the most transmissible variant


Expressing concern over the misinformation brewing around the COVID-19 pandemic, theWorld Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday said that several factors, including misinformation, are fueling the recent spike in cases across the world.

WHO’s COVID-19 Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove pointed out that misinformation such as the pandemic is over, Omicron is mild and that it is the last variant of COVID-19, are causing a lot of confusion andallowing the virus to thrive.

“We have huge amounts of misinformation that’s out there. The misinformation that Omicron is mild. Misinformation that the pandemic is over. Misinformation that this is the last variant that we will have to deal with. This is really causing a lot of confusion,” Ms Kerkhove said.

Empashising on the need for vaccination, the WHO top official said that COVID-19 vaccines remain incredibly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against Omicron.

Ms Kerkhovesaid that BA.2 appears to be the most transmissible variant so far. “We do not see changes in the severity of BA.2 compared to BA.1 at population levels. However, with huge numbers of cases, you will see an increase in hospitalizations & that in turn has translated into increased deaths,” she said.

The WHO had recently said that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic was a long way off, citing a rise in cases in its latest weekly data.

New infections jumped by 8 per cent globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases.The biggest jump was in the WHO’s Western Pacific region, which includes South Korea and China, where cases rose by 25 per cent and deaths by 27 per cent.

A number of experts have raised concerns that Europe faces another coronavirus wave, with case rising since the beginning of March in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.