An increase in global hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19 in the coming months is “reasonable to expect,” a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.
In a recent media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said COVID-related deaths have been declining globally, but the approaching colder weather and the continued spread of Omicron subvariants may bring risk to people’s health.
“With colder weather approaching in the northern hemisphere, it’s reasonable to expect an increase in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months. Sub-variants of Omicron are more transmissible than their predecessors, and the risk of even more transmissible and more dangerous variants remains,” he said.
Ghebreyesus also noted that vaccination rate among most at-risk people remains low, particularly in low-income countries.
High-income countries, meanwhile, have yet to vaccinate 30 percent of health workers and 20 percent of older people.
“These vaccination gaps pose a risk to all of us. So, please get vaccinated if you are not, and get a booster if it’s recommended that you have one,” he said.
The Philippines is seeing an “improvement” in its COVID-19 situation with the continued decline of reported COVID-19 cases, ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said.
But Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire clarified that the numbers are not yet stable.
Vergeire said the country’s vaccination has yet to provide enough immunity to the population.
“We can see that our vaccination has not yet given the immunity to our population so we can proceed with the new normal that we want,” she said.
“So while we are waiting for that to happen and we are working diligently toward that, I hope we can unite our efforts,” Vergeire said.
Data from DOH showed that 72.6 million individuals were already fully vaccinated, but only 18.1 million received booster doses, as of Friday.
“That’s how big the gap is between those that have the booster shot versus those who already have two doses. So it means that many of our countrymen are fully vaccinated but have not received their boosters,” Guido noted.
Health officials urged the public to continue following minimum health standards to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and other diseases that come with the change in weather.
“Living with COVID-19 doesn’t mean pretending the pandemic is over. If you go walking in the rain without an umbrella, pretending it’s not raining won’t help you. You’ll still get wet. Likewise, pretending a deadly virus is not circulating is a huge risk,” Ghebreyesus said.
“Since it’s the rainy season, a lot of other diseases are emerging like monkeypox, dengue, leptospirosis, and other food and waterborne diseases. Let us try to stay healthy. We know how to avoid infection for each of these diseases,” Vergeire said.