Zhang Wenhong warns of risks of Omicron, calls for building strong immunological barrier before reopening world
Published: Jan 09, 2022 10:26 AM Updated: Jan 09, 2022 10:22 AM

Zhang Wenhong. Photo: VCG
Zhang Wenhong. Photo: VCG

Zhang Wenhong, a well-respected infectious disease expert in Shanghai, slammed the notion that Omicron has caused merely an "enhanced influenza." He warned that the variant will "bite people" and said the world should only reopen until a strong immunologic barrier is built and the fatality rate is very low. 

The doctor made the statement at a Saturday conference, saying that it is groundless as some Chinese self-media are saying that the new variant is causing relatively minor symptoms than previous ones, that its just an "enhanced influenza."

He said that after researching the medical imaging of the new variant, he felt safe to say that Omicron has fought humans immunological system and won.

The new variant has caused a surge of infection globally. It has also made inroads into Chinese mainland as the city of Tianjin has found two local COVID-19 cases with the Omicron variant.

Zhang said that the reason why some Western countries COVID-19 policies are still relaxed in the face of the Omicron onslaught is because they are confident about their vaccination, whose effect is still unknown. The US now has a vaccination rate of 70 percent, with 22 percent already finished their booster shots.

He warned that for the groups with low immunological ability, the situation is rather dire. "We allow the argument about vaccination. But we should not underestimate the effect of vaccines in fighting COVID-19," Zhang said.

Apart from boosting the vaccination rate, a country and a region should also guarantee enough medical resources so that it can treat cases with low immunological levels. "If there are not too much medical resources, the Omicron will bite people," said Zhang, noting all places over China to ensure the sufficiency and equal of their medical resources.

The doctor said that only when a strong immunological barrier is built and the fatality rate is very low, will the world be re-opened again.

Global Times