New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday (July 2, 2021) warned that the world is in a ‘very dangerous’ period of the COVID-19 pandemic as the Delta variant, first found in India, is continuing to evolve and mutate.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a media briefing on COVID-19 said that in countries with low vaccination coverage, terrible scenes of ‘hospitals overflowing’ are again becoming the norm.
“Compounded by more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, we are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic,” Tedros said.
COVID-19 Delta variant is dangerous
The WHO chief said that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate. He stated that this COVID-19 variant requires constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response.
Tedros informed that Delta has been detected in at least 98 countries and is spreading quickly in countries with low and high vaccination coverage.
Two ways to push back against new surges
The WHO Director-General said that there are essentially two ways for countries to push back against new COVID-19 surges.
1. Tedros said that public health and social measures like strong surveillance, strategic testing, early case detection, isolation and clinical care remain critical. He also said that masking, physical distance, avoiding crowded places and keeping indoor areas well ventilated are the basis for the response.
2. The WHO Chief said that the world must equitably share protective gear, oxygen, tests, treatments and vaccines. “I have urged leaders across the world to work together to ensure that by this time next year, 70% of all people in every country are vaccinated,” he said.
The WHO Director-General said that this is the best way to slow the pandemic, save lives, drive a truly global economic recovery and along the way prevent further dangerous variants from getting the upper hand.
Vaccinate at least 10% of people by September
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the WHO is calling on leaders to vaccinate at least 10% of people in all countries by the end of this September. “This would protect health workers and those at most risk, effectively ending the acute stage of the pandemic and saving a lot of lives,” he said. Tedros stated that it’s a challenge but it’s possible because three billion COVID-19 vaccines have already been distributed.
“It is within the collective power of a few countries to step up and ensure that vaccines are shared, manufacturing is increased and that the funds are in places to purchase the tools needed,” he said.