The EG.5 variant of the coronavirus, currently in circulation within the borders of both the United States and China, was designated as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
However, the organization clarified that it does not appear to pose a greater threat to public health compared to other variants.
This rapidly spreading mutation, which accounts for over 17% of cases in the United States, has triggered surges in COVID-19 cases across the nation.
Additionally, it has been identified in several other countries including China, South Korea, Japan, and Canada.
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The World Health Organization’s risk assessment stated, “Based on the cumulative evidence, there is no indication that EG.5 carries a higher level of public health risks in comparison to the alternative Omicron descendant strains that are currently in circulation.”
Nonetheless, the organization emphasized the necessity for a more extensive evaluation of the potential risks associated with EG.5.
The global death toll due to COVID-19 has now surpassed 6.9 million, with over 768 million confirmed cases since the virus first emerged. In March 2020, the WHO officially classified the situation as a pandemic, but as of this year’s May, the global emergency status for COVID-19 was lifted.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who leads the WHO’s technical response to COVID-19, noted that EG.5 exhibits enhanced transmissibility but does not exhibit greater severity compared to other variations of the Omicron strain.
In her words, “We have not observed any significant change in the severity of EG.5 when compared to other sublineages of the Omicron variant that have been circulating since late 2021.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of WHO, expressed concern about the inadequate reporting of COVID-19 data by numerous countries.
He revealed that merely 11% of nations have provided information regarding hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units related to the virus.
In response, the World Health Organization issued a series of enduring recommendations related to COVID-19.
These guidelines strongly urge countries to consistently report data concerning COVID-19, particularly data related to mortality and morbidity. Furthermore, nations are encouraged to continue their vaccination efforts.
Dr. Van Kerkhove voiced her distress over the absence of data from many countries, asserting that this data deficit is impeding global endeavors to combat the virus.
She remarked, “Approximately one year ago, we were in a considerably more favorable position to predict, respond, and adapt. Presently, the delay in our ability to do so is growing, and our capacity to effectively address the situation is diminishing.”