By: Ogunleye Oluwapelumi
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning that the coronavirus disease continues to pose a significant threat, even though it has partially passed under the radar.
In December, nearly 10,000 COVID-19 deaths were reported, indicating increased transmission fueled by holiday gatherings and the JN.1 variant, which is now the most commonly reported variant worldwide.
WHO Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus emphasized that although COVID-19 is no longer considered a global health emergency, the virus is still circulating, evolving, and claiming lives.
According to data from various sources, there was a 42% increase in hospitalizations and a 62% increase in intensive care unit admissions in December compared to November. Tedros expressed concern that the reported deaths are likely an underestimation, as there are likely increases in other countries that are not being reported.
He urged governments to maintain virus surveillance and sequencing, ensure access to affordable and reliable tests, treatments, and vaccines, and called on individuals to continue practicing preventive measures such as vaccination, testing, and wearing masks when necessary.
“Although COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the virus is still circulating, changing, and killing,” WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said.
“It is certain that there are also increases in other countries that are not being reported.
“Just as governments and individuals take precautions against other diseases, we must all continue to take precautions against COVID-19.
“Although 10,000 deaths a month is far less than the peak of the pandemic, this level of preventable death is not acceptable,” Tedros said, urging governments to maintain virus surveillance and sequencing and to ensure access to affordable and reliable tests, treatments and vaccines.
“And we continue to call on individuals to be vaccinated, to test, to wear masks where needed and to ensure crowded indoor spaces are well-ventilated,” he added.