WHO says nearly 10,000 People Died from COVID-19 in December last year

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that nearly 10,000 people died from COVID-19 in December across approximately 50 countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas. This represents a 42% increase in hospital admissions and a 62% increase in ICU admissions compared to November.

The head of the U.N. health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, attributed the spike to holiday gatherings and the spread of the JN.1 variant, which is now the most commonly reported variant globally.

“Although COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the virus is still circulating and killing,” Tedros said during a press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva. “Data from various sources indicate increasing transmission during December fueled by gatherings over the holiday period, and by the JN.1 variant, which is now the most commonly reported variant globally.”

Tedros said that although 10,000 deaths a month is far less than the peak of the pandemic, this level of preventable deaths is not acceptable. He urged everyone to continue taking precautions and called on governments to keep up surveillance and provide continued access to treatments and vaccines.

Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead at WHO for COVID-19, told the Associated Press that there has been an increase in respiratory diseases across the globe not only due to the coronavirus, but also flu, rhinovirus and pneumonia.

Van Kerkhove said that the trends are expected to “continue into January through the winter months in the northern hemisphere,” adding that an increase in COVID-19 cases have also been noted in the southern hemisphere, where it’s now summer.

While sore throats, coughs, sniffling, fever and fatigue are common in the winter, Van Kerkhove said that they are “seeing co-circulation of many different types of pathogens” this year in particular.

The WHO’s data suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Even though the number of deaths is lower than it was at the peak of the pandemic, there are still thousands of people dying from the virus every month. It is important to remember that COVID-19 is still a serious illness, and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves and others.

Here are some tips for staying safe from COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted.
  • Wear a mask in crowded indoor settings.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms.

If you have any concerns about COVID-19, please consult with your doctor.

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