As Case Counts Fall, WHO Chief Warns 'COVID Isn't Finished'

By JAMEY KEATEN, Related Press

GENEVA (AP) — The top of the World Well being Group insisted Wednesday that “COVID is not completed with us,” interesting for extra assist to battle the pandemic after his company reported that new infections fell however virus deaths rose worldwide over the previous week.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, launching a brand new $23 billion marketing campaign to fund WHO’s efforts to guide a good rollout of COVID-19 assessments, remedies and vaccines all over the world, cautioned that “ailments know no borders” and the highly-transmissible omicron variant has proven that “any feeling of security can change in a second.”

WHO’s weekly epidemiological report, launched late Tuesday, confirmed that case counts fell 17% worldwide during the last week — together with a 50% decline in america — whereas deaths globally rose 7%.

“Relying on the place you reside, it’d really feel just like the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly over, or, it’d really feel like it’s at its worst,” Tedros stated. “However wherever you reside, COVID isn’t completed with us.”

Political Cartoons on World Leaders

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“We all know this virus will proceed to evolve, however we aren’t defenseless,” he added. “Now we have the instruments to stop this illness, check for it and to deal with it.”

Omicron, which is extra contagious than different variants however has typically introduced less-severe illness, made up almost 97% of all circumstances tallied by the worldwide virus-tracking platform referred to as GISAID. Simply over 3% had been of the delta variant.

In all, WHO reported greater than 19 million new COVID-19 circumstances and just below 68,000 new deaths from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. Specialists say the figures are believed to tremendously underestimate the true toll from the pandemic.

Case counts fell in every of WHO’s six areas besides its jap Mediterranean zone, which reported a 36% soar, notably with will increase in Afghanistan, Iran and Jordan.

In Europe, new infections fell 7% — led by substantial declines in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain — whilst nations in Jap Europe like Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia posted will increase in every day infections. Within the Americas, case counts fell 36%, with america — nonetheless the only most-affected nation — reporting 1.87 million new circumstances, down 50% from the earlier week.

Vaccines seemed to be best to stop extreme illness from omicron. The company stated booster doses elevated estimates of vaccine effectiveness to over 75% for all vaccines for which information can be found, although the charges declined after three to 6 months after injection.

WHO, bringing collectively leaders like South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre in addition to well being ministers, led a pitch on Wednesday for brand spanking new funding for its ACT-Accelerator program to get COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to folks all over the world.

“If you wish to guarantee vaccinations for everybody to finish this pandemic, we should first inject equity into the system,” U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres stated. ”Vaccine inequity is the largest ethical failure of our occasions, and other people and nations are paying the value.”

Ramaphosa stated wealthy nations have administered 14 occasions extra doses of life-saving vaccines and carried out 80 occasions extra assessments than have low-income nations. In Africa, he stated, simply 8% of persons are absolutely vaccinated. Whereas many rich nations roll out third and even fourth booster doses, he famous that many weak well being staff and aged folks in Africa “stay unprotected.”

“The tip of this pandemic is in sight, however provided that we act collectively for fairness, and for solidarity,” he stated.

The attraction comes as many wealthy Western nations — key donors for WHO — have been easing restrictions to battle the pandemic after COVID-19 circumstances have begun falling.

“Let’s be trustworthy. It’s not self-evident that that leaders within the North — in case you put it that means, will reply” to assist world efforts to battle COVID-19, Gahr Støre stated. However he pushed for “advocacy” to indicate leaders that “it’s actually of their curiosity to decide on to remain dedicated and be engaged.”

“If now we have some form of sleepwalking out of a shortsighted view in your nationwide omicron problem, across the subsequent nook, you could be very badly shocked,” he stated, directing feedback to officers in rich nations.

This story corrects that COVID-19 deaths rose 7% final week, not declined, and deletes an incorrect reference to new circumstances falling in Germany.

Observe all AP tales on the pandemic at

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