Jan. 19 (UPI) — The COVID-19 pandemic that has killed millions of people around the world is “nowhere near over,” according to the World Health Organization.
According to officials, new variants are likely to emerge.
“This pandemic is nowhere near over and with the incredible growth of Omicron globally, new variants are likely to emerge, which is why tracking and assessment remain critical,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at press conference Tuesday.
Tedros also added that Omicron continues to be a threat, causing deaths and hospitalizations.
“Omicron may be less severe — on average, of course — but the narrative that it is mild disease is misleading, hurts the overall response and costs more lives,” he said.
“Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalizations and deaths and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities. The virus is circulating far too intensely with many still vulnerable.”
So far, in the U.S, there have been 854,000 COVID-19 related deaths, and over 67 million cases.
“Speaking purely of this as a mild virus or less severe gives an impression that this would be less severe in its impact on the health system. That is not the case if the virus is able to spread uncontrollably throughout society and that’s why we have advised continued adherence to measures,” said Mike Ryan, the WHO health emergencies program executive-director, at Tuesday’s press conference.
President Joe Biden will be addressing the nation today at 4PM ET to discuss the surge of Omicron, as well as other issues.