Covid deaths rising again, be prepared for waves- warns WHO Chief Scientist

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

Even as Covid cases and even deaths are again on the rise globally, the world must be prepared for such Covid-19 waves as informed by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminatha.

According to Swaminathan, all new Covid variants in the future will be more transmissible and capable of evading immunity which can result in increased illness and hospitalisations. “We need to be prepared for these #Covid19 waves- each new #variant will be more transmissible & immune evasive- higher numbers infected will translate into greater hospitalisations & sickness,” she wrote on Twitter.

Further, she urged countries to have a data-driven plan to quickly respond to changing situations.

Swaminathan was responding to a tweet from Philip Schellekens, a Senior Advisor at the World Bank Group, who stated that the world is witnessing a global U-turn in Covid-19 mortality. Following months of decline, it has started to rise again.
Schellekens attributed the rise to properties of BA.5., relaxed attitudes towards infection control, and three-fourths of the world not being up-to-date on vaccination.

He said that the US, France, Italy, Germany and Japan are the drivers of the global surge among high-income countries, while Brazil, an upper-middle-income country, is leading in the developing world. The US and Brazil are currently the main contributors to global mortality. In the US, the new Omicron variants have pushed up hospitalisations and deaths in recent weeks.

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