The WHO has raised an alarm on 500,000 deaths added to COVID-19 deaths since Omicron.
The World Health Organisation said the Omicron variant which was discovered in Europe in November has killed half a million persons.
This was revealed by the WHO incident manager, Abdi Mahamud on Tuesday.
He said that since the Omicron variant was discovered, the death toll had been “beyond tragic”.
Mahamud said that 130 million cases had also been recorded globally. He added that the global death toll sits at a troubling 500,000.
This data reveals that the Omicron variant has taken over the Delta variant as the most dominant COVID variant.
Although it may appear to cause less severe illness, it is more transmissible. Its fatality rate remains higher than the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants.
During a live interaction on WHO’s social media account, Mahamud said:
“In the age of effective vaccines, half a million people dying, it’s really something.”
“While everyone was saying Omicron is milder, (they) missed the point that half a million people have died since this was detected.”
Omicron-related COVID-19 Deaths
The WHO technical lead on COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said the recorded cases of Omicron was shocking. However, she noted that the true number must be even more alarming.
Her words: “It makes the previous peaks look almost flat.”
“We’re still in the middle of this pandemic.
“Many countries have not passed their peak of Omicron yet.”
Van Kerkhove also raised the concern for the “astounding” Omicron-related deaths recorded since November 2021 till now.
“This virus continues to be dangerous,” she said.
Cases of Omicron Variant
The WHO said in its weekly COVID-19 update that an estimated 68,000 new deaths were reported last week.
The update released on Tuesday confirmed a seven per cent increase in cases compared to the past week.
Although there is a 17 per cent decrease of COVID-19 cases this week, Europe remains the worse hit.
The WHO Europe accounted for 58 per cent of new confirmed cases in early February.
Also, in the previous week, the region recorded 35 per cent of new deaths.
America followed with 23 per cent of new cases and 44 per cent of new deaths.
The report reiterated the impact of Omicron in the cases and deaths.
It said the pandemic is largely “characterised by the continued rapid global spread of the Omicron variant.”
It added that the variant is now detected “in almost all countries”.
The UN Health agency explained further that Omicron took 96.7 per cent of samples collected in four weeks. Delta, however, followed with a distant 3.3 per cent.
It confirmed that this data has been uploaded to the GISAID global science initiative.
Vaccines for Omicron
The report said there is limited information on the efficacy of vaccines against Omicron.
It, however, added that booster jabs “substantially” boosts the efficacy of the vaccines against Omicron.
“However, available estimates show reduced protection of the primary series Covid-19 vaccines against the Omicron variant for all outcomes (severe disease, symptomatic disease, and infection) than has been observed previously for other variants of concern,” it added.
Global COVID-19 Death toll
The global death toll of COVID-19 sits on a record of at least 5.7 million persons. The number of cases recorded also surpasses 392 million globally.
Also, about 10.25 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally.
For a virus that started in November 2019 in Wuhan, China, COVID-19 remains the deadliest virus.