RNS: World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Friday a significant spike in coronavirus cases worldwide, cautioning that the numbers are expected to rise further during the upcoming winter months in the northern hemisphere.
According to the latest data released by the WHO, covering the four-week period up to December 17th, there has been a staggering 52 per cent increase in COVID-19 infections compared to the previous 28-day period.
This alarming surge translates to approximately 850,000 new reported cases of COVID-19.
However, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier has raised concerns that the actual number of cases could be significantly higher.
Lindmeier emphasized the challenges in obtaining an accurate assessment of the pandemic’s scope, stating, “You know that throughout the world, and you’ve seen it in many of your own countries, the reporting has dropped, the surveillance centres have dropped, the vaccination centres have dropped, and they have been dismantled as well or shut down.
This, of course, leads to an incomplete picture, and we should expect, unfortunately, more cases than we have officially reported.”
Most of the recent infections have been attributed to a novel COVID-19 strain known as JN.1, which is currently under scrutiny by the United Nations health agency and has been classified as a “variant of interest.” JN.1 is believed to have originated in the United States before rapidly spreading to numerous countries worldwide.
This new variant, JN.1, has evolved from the Omicron variant, previously linked to a surge in COVID-19 infections in 2022. The emergence and rapid proliferation of JN.1 have prompted increased attention and vigilance from health authorities as they strive to understand its characteristics and potential impact on public health.
As winter sets in across the northern hemisphere, health officials urge the global community to remain vigilant, adhere to safety measures, and expedite vaccination efforts to curb the further spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
The evolving situation underscores the need for ongoing research and public health measures to combat the pandemic on a global scale.