After combating the second wave of COVID-19, the coronavirus scenario seems to be under control in India, but it continues to create havoc in other parts of the world, as for the past month, COVID related deaths have remained at almost 70 thousand a week, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
While speaking on September 8, 2021, at the media briefing on COVID-19, Dr. Tedros said, “People are dying who should not be. More than 50 thousand people have died with COVID-19 every week since October last year, and for the past month, deaths have remained at almost 70 thousand a week.”
The WHO chief pointed out that there are solutions to stop transmission and save lives but those solutions are either not being used well, or not being shared well.
He said that the inequitable distribution of life-saving tools including diagnostics, oxygen, personal protective equipment, and vaccines is driving a two-track pandemic.
Dr. Tedros informed that some countries with the highest vaccine coverage are now seeing a de-coupling of cases and deaths, which is allowing them to reopen their societies without their health systems being overwhelmed.
“While cases in some of these countries are increasing among unvaccinated people, hospitalisations and deaths have remained relatively low, thanks to vaccines and earlier clinical care,” he said.
He however expressed concern that premature relaxing of public health and social measures is putting unvaccinated and immunocompromised people at extreme risk.
Meanwhile, countries with low vaccine coverage continue to see high case fatality rates.
“Additionally, some countries are refusing entry to people who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine that has WHO Emergency Use Listing, but which has not been approved by their national regulators. This is creating more chaos, confusion, and discrimination, with some countries even refusing to use certain vaccines because of concern their citizens will be denied entry to other countries,” Dr. Tedros said.
He further informed that WHO Emergency Use Listing follows a rigorous process based on internationally recognised standards.
All vaccines that have received WHO Emergency Use Listing are safe and effective in preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant, he said.