‘I was asked to refrain from such statements and to say that it is a serious illness. I refused,’ revealed Dr. Angelique Coetzee.
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The doctor who helped discover the Omicron COVID-19 variant said she was told by European officials to say Omicron is not a mild illness but a serious one.
“I was told not to explain publicly that it was a mild illness. I was asked to refrain from such statements and to say that it is a serious illness. I refused,” Dr. Angelique Coetzee, head of the South African Medical Association, told the German newspaper Welt.
Coetzee did not reveal in the interview which officials encouraged her to “keep quiet.” She also said she was later “criticized by authorities in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.”
“My reports have thrown them off track,” Coetzee stated. “In a pandemic, you also have to look at what is happening at the grassroots level. The general practitioners who treat the sick every day must be asked what they experience.”
She explained that as a clinician, she sees “no indications that we are dealing with a very serious disease. The course is mostly mild. I’m not saying you won’t get sick if you’re mild.”
“The definition of mild COVID-19 disease is clear, and it is a [World Health Organization] definition: patients can be treated at home and oxygen or hospitalization is not required,” Coetzee elaborated.
“A serious illness is one in which we see acute pulmonary respiratory infections: People need oxygen, maybe even artificial respiration. We saw that with Delta — but not with Omicron. So I said to people, ‘I can’t say it like that because it’s not what we’re seeing,’” she added.