The UN health agency estimates that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are currently hospitalised with the virus. However, the true number could be much higher because many countries have stopped reporting Covid data.”We continue to see concerning trends for Covid-19 ahead of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online press conference.”Deaths are increasing in some parts of the Middle East and Asia, intensive care unit admissions are increasing in Europe and hospitalisations are increasing in several regions,” he added.
Ghebreyesus said while there is not currently a single dominant Covid variant worldwide, the EG.5 Omicron subvariant is on the rise. The highly mutated BA.2.86 subvariant has also been detected in 11 countries, he noted.The WHO is “monitoring this variant closely to assess its transmissibility and potential impact,” he added.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the US is well prepared with shots, antivirals and at-home tests heading into the fall and winter.Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid, said that preliminary data suggests that existing vaccines will give protection against BA.2.86. She emphasised the need for testing and vaccination given that viruses like influenza and RSV are also in circulation.