“Omicron is infecting 1 person every 30 seconds in Fars province,” head of Shiraz Medical University stated. Dr. Hosseini expressed his “extreme concern” about the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours in Iran. He urged people not to attend any gathering. Head of Ahvaz Medical University announced cases in Khuzestan province have increased up to 20 times compared to the month before! Dr. Sarmast warned about increasing number of infections among children, saying if one person in a family contracts Omicron, the entire family are infected. Another official in Khuzestan reported more than 2,000 people went to hospitals in the past 24 hours due to COVID-19 symptoms. He said 3 additional hospitals are accepting patients now!
Mashhad, second major city in Iran, recorded more than 3,000 suspected cases on a daily basis, with 50% positivity rate. In the past 24 hours, 2,438 positive cases were identified. Dr. Derakhshan said outpatients have spiked by as much as 4 times. In Gilan, COVID-19 cases have risen 5 times in 1 week. West Azerbaijan reports “exponential surge” in infections. Semnan, Zanjan, and Bushehr join the list of other provinces with soaring cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic holds “Fajr Film Festival” and other ceremonies in its anniversary! Ministry of Health announced its plans for the film festival. Hashemi, Director of PR Office, said everybody would be asked about their “medical history” and PCR test will be taken if necessary, and if it is positive, the person would not be allowed inside! He did not mention how PCR results will be available instantly at the movies and failed to explain the concern about crowded lines and gatherings.
At the same time, in Kohgiloyeh-Boyerahmad, the new Superintendent for the school districts of the province was introduced in a crowded ceremony where people were standing shoulder to shoulder due to lack of seats! And in Tehran, the “international tourism exhibition” was so congested that led to miles of traffic, all when the capital is struggling with soaring number of COVID-19 cases and it is in “orange” status!
Dr. Kermanpour, head of Emergency Room at Sina Hospital in Tehran, rebuked the government for making late decisions and delays in enforcing COVID-19 restrictions. He criticized reopening of schools and universities amid Omicron wave and predicted 3-digit daily death tolls by February 20. He added, “Do not play snake and ladder! Do not repeat the same mistakes!” Dr. Souri, epidemiologist, blamed the Ministry of Health for dismantling the “fast reaction team” which could have helped preventing another wave in Iran. He demanded the officials to allow experts in the decision making processes. He estimated hospitalizations and deaths will be overwhelming in the next 2-4 weeks. He predicted peak of Omicron wave will be reached by March 20.
As mentioned before, after months of AstraZeneca use, and trumpeting shipments of expired or unused shots from other countries, and despite the fact that travelers to foreign countries need an internationally recognized shot, AstraZeneca suddenly was branded as “unsafe!” As expected, it was a precursor for the failed and unproven “homegrown” vaccines to be used. Officials at COVPars, “developed” by Razi Institute, claim it could be used as the 3rd dose of any other vaccine! Another official from Mashhad urged people to administer Spikogen or PastoCoVac as their 3rd dose.
According to official definition of “full vaccination” and Ministry of Health data, since February 9, only 17,315,831 (20.61% 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 30 have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 28,995 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: 6,373,174 (+28,995)
Dead: 132,454 (+30)
Critical: 1,512 (+108)
Active Cases: 134,278 (+24,813)
Total Tests: 44,789,471
Cover: Ahmad Zohrabi