WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Monday issued a dire warning about the new variants of Covid-19 that are emerging across the globe.
He noted during a press briefing that because those variants can be more contagious, the surge in cases they are likely to cause could further stress hospitals and health workers already stretched to the brink.
Ghebreyesus said that more contagious variants of the coronavirus “can drive a surge of cases and hospitalizations, which is highly problematic for health workers and hospitals already close to the breaking point.”
He said that the added strain on hospitals puts other essential health services at risk, which he said mean that critical surgeries or procedures may become more difficult because hospital resources are more limited.
While these variants have been found to be more contagious, experts say they don’t appear to cause more severe sickness or increase the risk of death.
A former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, warned last week that the United States is “close to a worst-case scenario” because of the rapid spread of a new, highly contagious strain of Covid-19.
According to the Centre for Disease Control, new variants of Covid-19 have been found in the United Kingdom, the United States (where 63 cases have been detected), Canada, South Africa, and Nigeria, among other countries.