Briefing reporters successful Geneva, the UN wellness bureau chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the “huge spike” is being driven by the Omicron variant, which is rapidly replacing Delta successful astir each countries.
Despite the fig of cases, the play reported deaths person “remained stable” since October past year, Tedros added, astatine an mean of 48,000. The fig of patients being hospitalized is besides expanding successful astir countries, but it is not astatine the level seen successful erstwhile waves.
He told reporters this is perchance owed to the reduced severity of Omicron, and wide immunity from vaccination oregon erstwhile infection.
‘50 1000 deaths excessively many’
For the WHO chief, portion Omicron causes little terrible illness than Delta, it remains a unsafe virus, peculiarly for those who are unvaccinated.
“Almost 50 1000 deaths a week is 50 1000 deaths excessively many”, Tedros said. “Learning to unrecorded with this microorganism does not mean we can, oregon should, judge this fig of deaths.”
For him, the satellite cannot “allow this microorganism a escaped ride” erstwhile truthful galore radical astir the satellite stay unvaccinated.
In Africa, for example, much than 85 per cent of radical are yet to person a azygous dose of vaccine.
“We cannot extremity the acute signifier of the pandemic unless we adjacent this gap”, helium said.
Tedros past listed immoderate progress towards reaching the people of vaccinating 70 per cent of the colonisation of each state by the mediate of this year.
In December, COVAX shipped much than treble the fig of doses it distributed successful November. In the coming days, the inaugural should vessel its 1 billionth vaccine dose.
Some of the proviso constraints from past twelvemonth are besides starting to ease, Tedros said, but there’s inactive person a agelong mode to go.
So far, 90 countries person inactive not reached the 40 per cent target, and 36 of those countries person vaccinated little than 10 per cent of their populations.
Tedros besides highlighted an interim statement from the WHO Technical Advisory Group connected COVID-19 Vaccine Composition, released connected Tuesday, stressing that further vaccines are needed that person a greater interaction connected preventing infection.
Until specified vaccines are developed, the experts explained, the creation of existent vaccines whitethorn request to beryllium updated.
The Group besides said that a vaccination strategy based connected repeated booster doses is “unlikely to beryllium sustainable.”
A dense toll
According to Tedros, the overwhelming bulk of radical admitted to hospitals astir the satellite are unvaccinated.
At the aforesaid time, portion the immunizations stay precise effectual astatine preventing terrible illness and death, they bash not afloat forestall transmission.
“More transmission means much hospitalizations, much deaths, much radical disconnected work, including teachers and wellness workers, and much hazard of different variant emerging that is adjacent much transmissible and much deadly than Omicron”, Tedros explained.
Employees enactment connected the accumulation enactment of a COVID-19 vaccine successful India., by © UNICEF/ Dhiraj Singh
The sheer fig of cases besides means much unit connected already overburdened and exhausted wellness workers.
A survey published past twelvemonth showed that much than 1 successful 4 wellness workers person experienced intelligence wellness issues during the pandemic. Data from respective countries besides amusement that galore person considered leaving oregon person near their jobs.
On Tuesday, WHO hosted a planetary webinar, attended by clinicians from astir the world, connected the objective absorption of the microorganism during pregnancy, childbirth and the aboriginal postnatal period.
As stated earlier successful the pandemic, large women are not astatine higher hazard of contracting COVID-19, but if they are infected, they are astatine higher hazard for terrible disease.
“That’s wherefore it’s captious that large women successful each countries person entree to vaccines to support their ain lives, and those of their babies”, Tedros said.
The bureau main besides called for large women to beryllium included successful objective trials for caller treatments and vaccines.
He besides stressed that, fortunately, parent to babe transmission successful utero oregon during commencement is precise rare, and nary progressive microorganism has been identified successful bosom milk.