The World Health Organization urges countries not to give up on the battle against Omicron.
The WHO also brought attention to the massive amount of healthcare waste accumulating from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Omicron is still infecting
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said that since Omicron was first detected, nearly 90 million more COVID-19 cases have been reported. That is more than the 2020 total. Read more here.
He said, “we’re concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines, and because of Omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible, and no longer necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, said, “I know everyone wants to get back to ‘normal,’ but this level of intense circulation and death is not ‘normal.’ It’s not a global situation that should be accepted nor tolerated when we have the tools to change the course of this pandemic.”
The WHO is urging countries to use protective measures beyond vaccines alone.
More on healthcare waste
The COVID-19 pandemic is straining medical waste systems. This poses threats to both human and environmental health.
The WHO reports “much of the 87,000 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) shipped to countries by United Nations agencies has likely ended up as waste.”
Test kits alone are contributing to 2,600 tons of noninfectious waste.