The World Well being Group (WHO) has admitted it doesn’t know why the Omicron variant is spreading so quickly in international locations with excessive ranges of Covid-19 immunity.
In an replace on Saturday, the WHO stated Omicron had to this point been reported in 89 international locations and the variety of circumstances was doubling in 1.5 to three days. It stated this was “considerably quicker than Delta in international locations with documented group transmission.”
Nonetheless, the group stated it was unclear whether or not the brand new variant was spreading so quick amongst populations with excessive immunity attributable to its elevated transmissibility, higher immune evasion, or a mix of each components.
“There are nonetheless restricted obtainable knowledge, and no peer-reviewed proof, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness so far for Omicron,” the WHO stated throughout a technical briefing, as quoted by Reuters.
It warned that given the pace of transmission and the rising variety of hospitalizations within the UK and South Africa, “it’s attainable that many healthcare techniques could develop into rapidly overwhelmed.”
Extra knowledge can be wanted relating to the scientific severity of the variant, the WHO stated, admitting it nonetheless doesn’t perceive “the severity profile and the way severity is impacted by vaccination and pre-existing immunity.“
Since its discovery in South Africa about 5 weeks in the past, the fast unfold of Omicron has prompted contemporary journey bans and new pandemic restrictions, with a number of international locations asserting full-scale lockdowns.
The UK has reported document every day numbers of latest Covid circumstances for 3 days in a row, with greater than 93,000 circumstances introduced on Friday. London authorities are reportedly mulling the concept of a brand new two-week strict lockdown after Christmas.