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“We are in the early stages of the third wave,” warns WHO amid Delta surge

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World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday issued a warning to the world about the ‘early stages’ of the third wave of COVID-19.  

“The Delta variant has been spreading aggressively. This is mainly due to the public not adhering to the health guidelines and increasing mobility. These factors are causing a surge in both the number of cases and deaths,” he commented during the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee meeting.  

The top medical bodies have expressed concern over in-person gatherings for extended periods and the governments permitting events that may become hot spots of the COVID-19 transmission. Meanwhile, Tedros shared that the virus is continuing to evolve, and deaths are also rising again, resulting in more infectious variants.  

He further added, “Though we observed ten weeks of declines, the Delta variant has now spread across in more than 111 countries, and in no time, we are expecting it to be the most perilous COVID-19 strain circulating globally if it isn’t already.” 

In his address, Tedros also highlighted the existence of a ‘shocking disparity’ in the worldwide distribution of vaccines and the lack of access to life-saving drugs and equipment. Many underdeveloped and developing countries are still struggling to receive vaccines, and many have not obtained enough. COVAX – a global initiative to accelerate the manufacturing and development of COVID-19 vaccines, directed by WHO along with other international organizations – has distributed only 100 million doses up until now.  

The WHO chief specified that inequality has stirred a two-track pandemic. The first one is for countries with the most access to vaccines that are reducing restrictions and reviving their communities. The second track is for those countries with absolutely no access to vaccines that are spared “at the mercy of the deadly virus.” Drawing attention to the fact that vaccines alone will not end the pandemic, Tedros also called upon countries to persevere a consistent and customized approach to tackle the ongoing healthcare crisis. This involves leveraging and implementing the pre-defined public health and social measures and an all-encompassing risk management approach to huge gatherings.  

In the 8th meeting conducted on July 15th, 2021, the WHO also appealed for a push to vaccinate at least 10 percent of the population of every country by September, 40 percent by December, and 70 percent by mid-2022. The global health agency is also reconsidering options to digitize the International Certificate for Vaccination and Prophylaxis to aid a synchronized tactic for recording vaccination status.  

In the days to come, drugs and vaccines will have to compete against the variants. People must stay ever more alert against the infection, and the governments must step forward to counter the new danger successfully. 

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