• WHO warns of “concerning trends” for COVID-19 ahead of winter
• New BA.2.86 ‘pirola’ variant spreading in Northern Hemisphere
• UK Government bringing autumn vaccine programme forward to September 11th
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of the increasing spread of COVID-19 and “concerning trends” for the virus ahead of winter, as the new BA.2.86 ‘pirola’ variant spreads across the Northern Hemisphere. WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has reported that deaths are increasing in some parts of the Middle East and Asia, intensive care unit admissions are increasing in Europe and hospitalizations are increasing in several regions. In response, schools across America are reinstating mask mandates and the UK Government has announced a September 11th vaccine programme as a precautionary measure.
The Telegraph has reported that there is no evidence that Pirola is more dangerous or would take over from the current variants circulating in Britain. Data from lab studies suggest that the variant may be less contagious and less able to evade the immune system than previously feared. UKHSA has urged those eligible for a booster vaccine to take up the offer.
Overall, the WHO is warning of concerning trends for the virus as the new variant spreads across the Northern Hemisphere. Schools are implementing mask mandates and the UK Government has brought forward the autumn vaccine programme as a precautionary measure.
The fear is being ramped up again as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns of “concerning trends” for COVID-19 ahead of winter with “increasing deaths” as the new BA.2.86 ‘pirola’ variant spreads across the Northern Hemisphere. Oh no, there’s a cold-like virus spreading in the winter. Quick, suspend human life as we know it and cower in fear while adopting a preachy, sanctimonious tone with anyone who wants life to carry on.
Here’s the hysterical Express, in an article headed ‘WHO sounds major alarm over “concerning” Covid wave coming this winter as deaths soar’:
The UN health agency estimates that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are currently hospitalised with the virus. However, the true number could be much higher because many countries have stopped reporting Covid data.
“We continue to see concerning trends for COVID-19 ahead of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere,” WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online press conference.
He added: “Deaths are increasing in some parts of the Middle East and Asia, intensive care unit admissions are increasing in Europe and hospitalisations are increasing in several regions.”
America has also seen a surge in cases as a new variant, designated BA.2.86, gains a foothold in the country as winter approaches.
According to a recent bulletin in Yale Medicine, the new variant has more than 30 mutations to its spike protein – located on the outer surface of a coronavirus – which helps it enter and infect human cells.
“Such a high number of mutations is notable,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Scott Roberts said.
“When we went from [Omicron variant] XBB.1.5 to [Eris] EG.5, that was maybe one or two mutations.
“But these massive shifts, which we also saw from Delta to Omicron, are worrisome.”
Schools across America are reinstating mask mandates in response to the surge in cases.
Kinterbish Junior High School in Alabama has asked all students, staff and visitors to start wearing face masks in classrooms and hallways “due to the slow rise of Covid cases in the area” in recent weeks.
Alabama’s Talladega City School district which is home to more than 1,700 students has also urged children and staff to wear masks, but stressed they are “encouraged but not required”.
And Maryland elementary school became embroiled in controversy this week after saying students must don tightly fitted N95 masks for 10 days, despite a smattering of cases.
The Telegraph’s coverage is, mercifully, more measured, with Sarah Knapton reporting that the UKHSA said there was no evidence that Pirola was more dangerous or would take over from the current variants circulating in Britain.
She adds that “data published this week from lab studies suggest that BA.2.86 may be less contagious and less able to evade the immune system than previously feared”, with “two independent labs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, [finding] that immune responses were comparable to or higher than that seen with current circulating variants”.
Nonetheless, the U.K. Government has announced that the autumn vaccine programme will be brought forward to September 11th as a “precautionary measure”, while UKHSA has urged those eligible for a booster vaccine to take up the offer. Should be good for sales.