United Nations/Geneva: The head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the COVID-19 pandemic is changing, but it is not over, warning that cases are rising in 110 countries and mainly caused by two fast-spreading omicron sub-versions. are being operated by. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that the fast-spreading Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are estimated to make up half of coronavirus cases in the United States.
As of June 25, BA.5 made up 36.6 percent of total coronavirus cases in the US, while BA.4 accounted for 15.7 percent, together with about 52 percent of new cases in the US.
“On COVID-19 driven by BA.4 and BA.5 in many places, cases are rising in 110 countries, leading to a 20 percent increase in total global cases and deaths in three of the WHO’s six regions As such the global figure remains relatively stable,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He said, “The pandemic is changing but it is not over. We’ve made progress but it’s not over.” Ghebreyesus said the ability to track viruses is “at risk” as reporting and genomic sequences are dwindling, making it harder to track omicrons and analyze future emerging variants. It is done.
The WHO chief also expressed concern over the slow pace of vaccination in low-income countries, making at-risk populations in those areas more vulnerable to future waves of the virus.
“We are close to the midpoint of the year, which is the point at which the WHO called on all countries to vaccinate at least 70% of their populations,” he said, adding that over the past 18 months, more than the world 12 billion vaccines have been distributed and 75 percent of the world’s health workers and more than 60 people have now been vaccinated.
The Lancet estimates that 20 million lives have been saved because of vaccines. “On the other hand, millions of people in low-income countries remain unvaccinated, including millions of health workers and older people, which means they are more vulnerable to future waves of the virus,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said that while the hoarding of vaccines by wealthy and manufacturing countries was a major barrier to access last year, political commitment to getting vaccines to the people – and the challenges of disruption – have been a national impediment in 2022.
“With only 58 countries achieving the 70 percent target, some have said it is not possible for low-income countries to make it,” he said. The WHO chief cited the example of Rwanda where the second dose vaccination rate is now above 65 percent and is still rising.
Countries like Nepal and Cambodia have shown it is possible, he said, with the average rate in low-income countries being 13 percent. “But if there is enough political will at the household level, support to ensure the rollout to communities and to tackle the disinformation, higher vaccination rates are fully achievable,” he said.
Ghebreyesus underlined that it is important to keep the most at-risk groups up to date with vaccinations, while moving to prevent death and serious disease. He said that in all countries, 100 per cent risk groups should be vaccinated and promoted as soon as possible.
On the research and development front, Ghebreyesus said it is important that there is funding for second-generation vaccines as well as testing and treatments. “While it makes sense to respect vaccines for the virus variants that are being developed, I worry that the speed of mutation means the world continues to catch on. Building on existing vaccines that limit severity and prevent death.” Developing second-generation vaccines that prevent, or at least prevent, infection will be a big step,” he said.
He said the ideal solution would be the development of a “pan-coronavirus” vaccine that covers all variants so far and potentially future. “It’s possible, WHO continues to convene scientists and researchers and a lot of research has been done on this. Understanding this virus and the immunology as a whole,” he said.