WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed in his weekly press briefing that the global figure as a whole remains “relatively stable” but no one should be under any illusion that coronavirus is at the exit.
“#COVID-19driven by BA.4 and BA.5 in many places, cases are on the rise in 110 countries, resulting in a 20% increase in total global cases and an increase in deaths in 3 of the 6 WHO regions, even though the global indicator remains relatively stable.@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) June 29, 2022
“This pandemic is changing, but it is not over yet. We have made progress, but this is not the end.”
“Only through the joint actions of governments, international agencies and the private sector can we solve converging problems.“, said WHO main.
He warned that our ability to track the virus is at risk as reports and genomic sequences dwindle. An optimistic mid-year deadline for all countries to vaccinate at least 70 percent of their population looks unlikely, as the average in low-income countries is 13 percent.
On the other hand, over 12 billion vaccines have been distributed worldwide in the past 18 months, and 75 percent of the world’s healthcare workers and people over 60 are now vaccinated.
20 million lives saved by shots
Influential The Lancet, a medical journal, has calculated that 20 million lives have been saved thanks to vaccines.Tedros said.
Last year, it was the stockpiling of vaccines by wealthy and producing countries that proved to be a major barrier to access, but this year it’s what he called a wavering “political commitment to getting vaccines to people – and challenges to disinformation.” that disrupt national vaccination rates.
He urged all risk groups to get vaccinated and revaccinated as soon as possible.
“It also makes sense for the general population to continue to build up this immune wall, which helps reduce disease severity and reduce the risk of a long-term or post-COVID condition.”
He said ongoing “mild” cases are devastating and devastatingpreventing children from attending school and adults from working, “which further disrupts the economy and the supply chain.”
He said the target of 70 percent coverage is still desirable, based on the principle that if we don’t share vaccines on an equal footing, “then we undermine the philosophy that all lives are of equal value“.
Second generation vaccines
Tedros said it was critical to secure funding for “second-generation vaccines” as well as testing and treatment.
“The ideal solution would be to develop a pancoronavirus vaccine that covers all options now and potentially in the future,” the WHO chief said.
“It’s feasible, the WHO continues to convene scientists and researchers, and there has been a lot of research on this virus and understanding of immunology in general.”
New Global Challenges
He said that as part of the agency’s solidarity trials, global trials of new vaccines could be conducted to quickly establish their safety and effectiveness.
“Now is the time,” he concluded, “to state health departments integrate tests and antivirals into clinical careso that people who are sick can be cured quickly.
“FROM new variants of anxiety are likely – genomic sequencing remains critical. I also call for accelerated efforts and spurring the development of a coronavirus vaccine.”