Omicron cases continue to rise. Head of Arak Medical University reported, 55% of positive COVID-19 tests are infected with the Omicron variant. Dr. Jamalian also admitted the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Markazi province. He said some of the cases are concurrent infection with flu virus. He predicted the next wave of COVID-19 in Iran will happen by the end of February, early March.
While experts and officials admit 3-dose vaccination is the only way to prevent another wave of infections in Iran, member of Scientific Committee of National COVID-19 Task Force admits the daily vaccination rate has significantly reduced. Dr. Younesian said only about 50,000 per day receive their 1st dose, while about 7million have not received any shot yet. He suggested the government should either use force or convincing methods to persuade more people to vaccinate.
Another member of the committee reiterated Younesian’s points and added, Omicron is not a “mild cold” but can definitely become the dominant variant in Iran and overload the hospitals. Dr. Tabarsi said the situation is “very fragile” and can break in the next 2-3 weeks. Dr. Bilglari, head of Pasteur Institute, claimed daily test capacity in Iran is between 200,000 and 250,000, “however, it depends on the Ministry of Health how many and with what purpose they want to perform!” Health experts have been adamant that active case finding could help prevent the next wave but the Ministry of Health keeps reducing daily tests. Biglari also confirmed that not all COVID-19 cases are sequenced and only the cluster cases or the ones who just entered the country would be sequenced.
Despite all the warnings and calls to postpone reopening universities and schools, Islamic Republic insists on in-person classes. Meanwhile, air pollution has become an additional problem for patients in all age groups, especially increasing the chance of COVID-19 symptoms.
According to official data, since February 9, only 11,974,000 (14.25% of Iran population) have received 3 doses of these vaccines. 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.
The Ministry of Health Spokesperson claimed 24 have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 2,539 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 317,000 have died of the disease since February 2020. Graphs illustrate the ongoing crisis in Iran and forming of the new wave.
Total: 6,217,320 (+2,539)
Dead: 132,026 (+24)
Critical: 1,409 (-53)
Active Cases: 24,614 (+421)
Total Tests: 43,245,362