Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that while Omicron causes less severe disease compared to other variants, it is still dangerous, especially to those who have yet to receive the life-saving vaccination against Covid-19.

(japantimes.co.jp)

The pandemic last week grew by more than 15 million infections, which is by far the most reported in a seven-day period, and was fueled in large part by the Omicron variant that is forecast to replace Delta in nearly all nations.

Data shows that while cases grow deaths have stabilized at about 50,000 a week, which WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters during a Wednesday press conference in Geneva is still too high.

“Learning to live with the virus does not mean we can, or should accept this number of deaths,” he said. “We must not allow this virus a free ride or wave the white flag, especially when so many people around the world remain unvaccinated.”

According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data project, more than 9.5 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide with nearly 60 percent of all eligible people having received at least one dose.

However, the data shows that in low-income countries only 9.5 percent of people have received one dose. On the African continent, more than 85 percent are still waiting for their first shot.

In the East African nation of Burundi the percentage of its nearly 12 million people who have received one dose is 0.0046 percent, making it the lowest vaccinated country on the continent followed by Democratic Republic of Congo at 0.2 percent, Chad at 1.7 percent and South Sudan at 2.1 percent.

“We cannot end the acute phase of the pandemic unless we close this gap,” Tedros said. “More transmission means more hospitalizations, more deaths, more people off work, including teachers and health workers, and more risk of another variant emerging that is even more transmissible and more deadly than Omicron.”

Tedros said they have made progress through their COVAX program that aims to achieve equitable access to vaccines, which shipped in December double the doses it did the month before with estimates that its 1 billionth dose shipped will occur in days.

However, Tedros said they still have a long way to go to achieve the goal of 70 percent worldwide inoculation by mid-year with 90 nations having yet to hit 40 percent and 36 of those nations still below 10 percent.

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