WHO SAYS COVID-19 NUMBERS ARE STILL “ABSOLUTELY STAGGERING”

WHO SAYS COVID-19 NUMBERS ARE STILL “ABSOLUTELY STAGGERING”

The world crossed about 400 million known cases of Covid and more than 5.76 million deaths on Wednesday.

Over 10.09 billion have been vaccinated, the Covid numbers are still “absolutely atonishing”, according to a senior World Health Organisation adviser.

“It’s a very dangerous virus,” Dr Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to the body’s Director General said.

“If we look at the situation today — there’s still 2 million reported cases alone, over 5,000 deaths every single day right now,” he said.

Many experts have contended that the pandemic is on its end stage and slowly moving towards becoming an epidemic.

The WHO has maintained that this is not the end and a more severe variant of Covid-19 is expected. The global body has thus been calling for increasing vaccine coverage, especially in low income countries.

“The numbers are absolutely staggering, and what we’re learning to live with is not just this virus, but what should be an unacceptable burden of disease, an unacceptable number of deaths every single day, especially when there are the tools to stop or at least slow this thing, manage it, control it,” Aylward said.

Meanwhile, the WHO on Wednesday also called upon  rich countries to pay their fair share of the money needed for its plan to conquer Covid-19 in developing countries by contributing $16bn as a matter of urgency, the report said.

Aylward said that protecting the whole world is critical and that $16bn investment is needed to get out of the “acute phase” of the pandemic.

“That sounds like a lot of money, but it is less than what the world is losing every single month right now,” he said ..

The global health body said the rapid cash injection into its access to Covid tools accelerator (ACT-A) could finish off Covid-19 as a global health emergency this year.

The WHO-led plan is aimed at developing, producing, procuring and distributing tools to fight the pandemic: vaccines, tests, treatments and personal protective equipment.

ACT-A needed $23.4bn for its programme for the year October 2021-September 2022 but only $800m has been raised so far, the report said.

“The rapid spread of Omicron makes it even more urgent to ensure tests, treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably globally. If higher-income countries pay their fair share of the ACT-Accelerator costs, the partnership can support low- and middle-income countries to overcome low Covid-19 vaccination levels, weak testing, and medicine shortages,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

“Science gave us the tools to fight Covid-19; if they are shared globally in solidarity, we can end Covid-19 as a global health emergency this year,” he added.

 

Esther Anochie