The World Health Organization said on Monday that while the number of new cases of COVID-19 has steadily declined for seven consecutive weeks, the virus continues to spread and kill people in Africa, a region with little to no ‘access to vaccines and treatments.
Speaking from the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the overall drop in new cases, the longest since the start of the pandemic, was certainly good news . But he said deaths overall were not declining as quickly and had declined only slightly over the past week.
Tedros said the drop in cases also masks the fact that the virus continues to spread and kill in areas such as Africa, which has limited access to vaccines and treatments such as oxygen and medical supplies. diagnostic.
He cited a recent study in the British medical journal The Lancet showing Africa with the highest global death rate among critically ill COVID-19 patients, although it has fewer reported cases than most other regions.
Tedros said available evidence suggests new variants have dramatically increased transmission globally, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. Risks have increased for people who are unprotected, who make up the bulk of the world’s population, he said. “Right now, the virus is moving faster than the global distribution of vaccines.”
The WHO chief expressed gratitude to leaders at the G-7 summit last week, who pledged 870 million doses of vaccine through the WHO-administered global vaccine cooperative, COVAX.
He said that while these donations would be of great help, the world needed more vaccines and faster. Tedros said that to end the pandemic, the common goal must be to vaccinate at least 70% of the world’s population within the next year. It will require 11 billion doses of vaccine, and “the G-7 and the G-20 can do it.”