COVID-19’s Stealthy Winter Surge: 10,000 Deaths and Counting in December

January 13, 2024
1 min read
Summit of the Future
Summit of the Future, to advocate for collaboration for health and security, Photo Source: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reported that hospital admissions from Covid-19 in December increased by 42% in nearly 50 countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas. These countries shared this trend information, highlighting a significant rise in cases.

Tedros, the head of the UN health agency, pointed out that holiday gatherings and the spread of the most prominent variant globally led to increased transmission of Covid-19 last month. He emphasized that nearly 10,000 deaths were reported in December. Speaking from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Tedros stated, “Although 10,000 deaths a month is far less than the peak of the pandemic, this level is not acceptable.” He noted the certainty of rising cases in other places that have not been reporting.


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Ghebreyesus called on governments to maintain surveillance and continue providing access to treatments and vaccines. He highlighted that the JN.1 variant is now the most prominent in the world. As an omicron variant, current vaccines should still offer some protection.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the Technical head of WHO for Covid-19, cited an increase in respiratory diseases globally due to the coronavirus, as well as flu, rhinovirus, and pneumonia. She stated, “We expect those trends to continue into January through the winter months in the northern hemisphere.” Maria also noted the increase in Covid-19 cases in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is currently summer.

While common symptoms like coughs, sniffling, fever, and fatigue are typical in winter, this year has seen the co-circulation of many different types of pathogens, as pointed out by Maria. In response to these developments, WHO officials recommend that people get vaccinated when possible, wear masks, and ensure proper ventilation in indoor areas. Emphasizing prevention, they advocate following WHO guidelines for public health and safety​​​​​​.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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