Dec 30, 2021

Delta-Omicron combo driving a tsunami of cases - WHO Featured

The combination of Delta and Omicron variants is driving a dangerous tsunami of Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief has said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' words came as the US and countries across Europe reported record new cases.

France reported Europe's highest ever daily figure for the second day in a row, at 208,000 cases.

And the US has reported a record average of 265,427 cases a day over the last week, according to Johns Hopkins.

Denmark, Portugal, the UK and Australia have all also reported record-breaking figures.

Poland reported 794 Covid-related deaths on Wednesday, the highest number in its fourth wave of the pandemic. More than three-quarters of these were unvaccinated people.

Studies suggest that Omicron - which has quickly become dominant in numerous countries - is milder than the Delta variant, but far more contagious. It is believed to be driving the surge in cases, with French health minister Olivier Véran telling reporters he would "no longer speak of a wave when it comes to Omicron" but a "tidal wave".

However, Dr Tedros warned it was the "twin threat" of the two variants that was behind the overall case load.

"This is and will continue to put immense pressure on exhausted health workers, and health systems on the brink of collapse," the WHO chief added.

At the moment, some 900,000 new cases are being reported around the world every day, Reuters news agency reports.

Dr Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, has told CNN Omicron infections are likely to peak at the end of January in the US, given its population size and vaccination rate.

Several wealthy nations have launched booster drives to give third doses of Covid vaccines, including the UK where 57% of people over 12 have now received three jabs.

(BBC News)