WHO: Omicron could become more transmissible than Delta

The Omicron variant may be more contagious that Delta, WHO technical lead Maria van Kerkhove said at a news conference on Wednesday.

‘’It is certainly possible that one of the scenarios is that the virus, as it continues to evolve <…> could become more transmissible than Delta,’’ she said. ‘’We don’t know quite yet about the severity.’’

‘’There is also a suggestion of increased hospitalizations across South Africa,’’ she said. That could be due to ‘’the sheer fact that we have more cases and if you have more cases, you have more hospitalizations,’’ she said.

To avoid the worst-case scenario, van Kerkhove said countries should continue to apply the same measures that are being taken now against Delta.

On November 26, the WHO designated the new COVID-19 strain, which was detected in southern Africa, as Omicron. According to WHO’s preliminary data, the variant has higher transmissibility.

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