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It is very possible that omicron is already in Haiti, warns a specialist

One of the members of the scientific committee that works on covid-19 in Haiti warned this Friday of the “possible” presence of the omicron variant in the country, in a context marked by a total relaxation of the population in the face of prevention measures and your refusal to get vaccinated.

“It is very possible that the omicron variant is in Haiti, we will have the results in a few days,” said Dr. Jean William Pape, a member of the Scientific Unit for Health Crisis Management, in an interview with Efe.

Since the announcement of the omicron variant outbreak, Haitian health authorities have selected samples for sequencing in a reference laboratory of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

While the results are awaited, a fever epidemic is spreading through the different regions of the country.

FEVER OR OMICRON?

On public transport, in public markets, in public and private institutions, not to mention social media, hundreds of Haitians complain of fever.

In addition to the “little fever”, as Haitians prefer to call it, these people suffer from aches, a bad flu, cough, headaches and sore throats, symptoms that people prefer to treat using plants and rudimentary medicine instead of going to the hospital.

“The small fever may be due to omicron or rather the flu, which is documented,” Pape said, adding that omicron will cause many infections, but not many serious cases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lauré Adrien, director general of the Haitian Ministry of Health, exclusively told Efe that the agency has received information about the presence of symptoms (fever and cough) in some localities.

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“We cannot say with certainty that this is a resurgence of covid-19 cases because we do not yet have the evidence to say so,” he added.

SHOULD HAITI CARE ABOUT OMICRON?

For Dr. Pape the variant would not cause much damage in Haiti, based on the relatively low impact of other more offensive strains such as gamma or delta. The Haitian doctor was appointed in March 2021 to the Scientific Council of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, Adrien considered that the fear of the worst is always “justified” in the case of covid-19, although in Haiti the evolution of the pandemic does not seem to augur a “catastrophe.”

“However, it is necessary to take into account the pressure that a massive influx of positive cases can put on an already weak health system, even if the omicron variant to date is recognized as less dangerous,” he added.

HAITIANS CONTINUE TO REFUSE VACCINES

Adrien warned that Moderna pharmaceutical vaccines could expire because the population does not come to be inoculated. He assured that Haiti expects to receive a third shipment of that compound.

Only 1% of the population has been vaccinated, according to official figures. As of December 21, 2021, only 72,102 people are fully vaccinated, 71,761 have received the two doses of Moderna vaccine, and 341 have received the single dose from Johnson & Johnson.

On December 18, Haiti received 57,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from Denmark and 108,000 doses of the same preparation from the US Government, within the framework of the Covax initiative, run by the WHO.

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COVID-19 ALMOST IN FORGETTING

The term physical distancing has completely disappeared from discourse in Haiti. In both public and private institutions, people no longer wear masks and containers for washing hands have disappeared.

As a result, people live in total oblivion of the existence of the disease. Only some commercial banks, supermarkets and stores continue to demand the use of masks, in a context in which even the government authorities speak very little about the disease.

Until December 17, 2021, Haiti had 25,917 confirmed cases of covid-19, 4,844 hospitalized, 765 deaths and 22,666 people treated, according to figures released by the Ministry of Public Health.

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