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Many Countries Haven't Seen Omicron Peak Yet - WHO

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 09, 2022

Many Countries Haven't Seen Omicron Peak Yet - WHO

Many countries have not yet seen their Omicron peak numbers yet. The World Health Organization released that statement on February 1. The highly transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus already overtook the Delta variant as the dominant strain globally. Measures imposed to curb the spread of Omicron should not be eased so quickly. World Health Organization technical lead on COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove issued the warning in an online briefing.

Overconfidence due to vaccines and Omicron

“We are urging caution because many countries have not gone through the peak of Omicron yet,” she said. “Many countries have low levels of vaccination coverage with very vulnerable individuals within their populations. And so now is not the time to lift everything all at once.”

Overconfidence is apparently taking hold in some countries. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the U.N. agency was concerned about a narrative that preventing transmission is no longer possible. The presence of vaccines and the high transmissibility yet lower severity of Omicron has fed into that mindset. On the contrary, preventing transmission is still necessary.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Ghebreyesus said during the briefing. “More transmission means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone.”

Omicron peak done in the Philippines

There is some comparatively good news in the Philippines as the Omicron peak seems to have already passed. The highest recorded positive COVID-19 cases happened on Saturday, January 15, 2022. A little over 39,000 positive cases were reported on that date. Most of the country was placed under Alert Level 3 status for the entire month of January because of the rising Omicron numbers.

There have been 7,661 new cases and 43 new deaths recorded in the Philippines on February 2, 2022. This has prompted Malacañan Palace to place Metro Manila and seven other provinces under the less restrictive Alert Level 2. The Philippine Department of Health reported on the same day that the country is back to moderate risk status for COVID-19. It was previously at the high and critical risk classification.

“The average daily attack rate was still at high risk, but it decreased to 19.43 cases for every 100,000 individuals,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Don’t follow other countries blindly

The Philippines may have better numbers now, but the pandemic is still raging globally. Many restrictions are still in place and health protocols still need to be followed, including the continued wearing of masks. “It’s premature for any country to surrender or to declare victory,” said Ghebreyesus.

WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan pointed out that not every country is in the same situation regarding Omicron. “Those countries who are making decisions to open up more broadly also need to be sure of capacity to reintroduce measures, with community acceptance, if needed. So as if we open the doors quickly, you better be very well able to close them very quickly as well,” he said.

The United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands have Recently relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. Denmark and Austria followed last week. Meanwhile, other countries like New Zealand have not yet opened up. New Zealand officials have warned of an expected increase in Omicron cases within the country in the coming weeks.

Key Takeaways

The World Health Organization warns that many countries have not yet reached Omicron peak numbers. Strict health protocols still need to be followed even though some nations are relaxing their COVID-19 restrictions. The highly contagious Omicron variant is still spreading globally. Positive COVID numbers are still dipping in the Philippines, prompting the Department of Health to place the country under moderate risk status now.

For more on Coronavirus, click here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Dexter Macalintal, MD

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 09, 2022

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