Tehran Governor reported 78% increase in COVID-19 cases and 61% in hospitalizations from the week before. Mansouri confirmed that only elementary schools will hold their classes online for 1 week but other grades and universities are open for in-person attendance, despite the fact that experts warn all “common colds are Omicron and must be isolated!” Dr. Souri called on the government to increase the number of Omicron-specific daily tests. The epidemiologist said the variant evades the usual PCR kits and needs special testing which has not been performed in Iran. Currently, less than 100,000 PCR tests are performed in Iran and positivity rate has reached about 40%! Souri added, “You can’t control Omicron with bureaucratic formulas!”
Ardabil, Gilan, Khuzestan, and Fars reported “critical” conditions. Kermanshah officials announced 10 times rise in COVID-19 cases in the province. Dr. Sedaghat, head of ICU at a hospital in Mashhad says the 6th wave is ablaze in Iran. In the midst of Omicron and concerns about more cases among children, Deputy Head of Mashhad Medical University in Drug and Food confirmed there is a shortage of some antibiotics for kids across the second major city of Iran. Dr. Vahdati also hinted it is possible the city may face shortage of other drugs if Omicron is not controlled.
Head of Infectious-Disease ward at a hospital in Mashhad sounded the alarm about scarcity of nurses and healthcare staff as more and more are infected with Omicron and have to isolate. Dr. Rosita Khodashahi warned that would cause the healthcare system to break down sooner and more staff will be burnt out.
Furthermore, Head of Air Health and Climate Change Center at the Ministry of Health called on the government to resolve the air pollution problem as soon as possible as it is causing exacerbation of lung and heart diseases such as COVID-19. Dr. Shahsavani reported 16 stations across the capital indicate “critical air quality” which is dangerous for most groups.
According to official definition of “full vaccination” and Ministry of Health data, since February 9, only 18,163,387 (21.62% of Iran population) are vaccinated against COVID-19 with these vaccines. It is estimated that more than 53 million Iranians are at risk of contracting Omicron. The majority of shots used in Iran are the ineffective Sinopharm and failed COVIran Barekat. WHO recommends 3 doses of Sinopharm to be effective against Delta but studies have found the vaccine ineffective against Omicron. It is worth mentioning, Khamenei banned US and UK made vaccines in January to promote his own foundation’s COVIran Barekat, which led to a deep mistrust between people and the healthcare system of the regime.
The Ministry of Health Spokesperson claimed 59 have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 38,160 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Number of daily tests performed in the country continue to decline despite experts advice to have a more active case finding. Active cases begin to rise too. Professor of Epidemiology at Tehran University believes these numbers must be multiplied by 7 and Civil Registration Organization data show more than 318,000 have died of the disease since February 2020. Graphs illustrate the ongoing crisis in Iran and forming of the new wave.
Total: 6,446,404 (+38,160)
Dead: 132,563 (+59)
Critical: 1,819 (+116)
Active Cases: 198,707 (+33,582)
Total Tests: 44,988,940
Cover: Ahmad Zohrabi