New omicron sub-variants of COVID are spreading quickly throughout the world. In the US, a little more than 100,000 people have tested positive for COVID each day, with experts saying that number is probably even higher because of people not reporting at-home tests. In Europe, there’s been an uptick in cases and hospitalizations due to new strains of the virus. And in China, where people in hubs like Shanghai have only just left lockdown, another round of lockdowns could be on the horizon because of their own rising cases.
In the West, experts have warned that the movement away from health protocols has been part of why the virus has been able to spread. They say that some of those protocols, like mandatory masking or COVID passports, should be reimplemented to add some extra protection from these new variants. But in China, the concern is more an economic one – investors are watching to see if those hubs like Shanghai go on lockdown again, which would likely throw their economies into even more turmoil than they’ve already been through recently.
“New waves of the virus demonstrate that COVID-19 is nowhere near over,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that he’s “concerned about a rising trend of deaths.”
“But in my mind, 250 deaths a day is still too many,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC in the US. “The deaths that we’re seeing are generally among people who are either elderly, frail, many comorbidities who’ve had a lot of vaccine shots, or people who are unvaccinated.”