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World had highest tally of COVID-19 cases last week – WHO chief

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The world reported the highest global tally of COVID-19 cases last week, and while the omicron variant spreading like a tsunami may appear milder, it hospitalizes and kills people, the World Health Organization chief said Thursday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said at the organization’s first webinar of 2022 that “while omicron does appear to be less severe compared to delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as ‘mild.’

“Just like previous variants, omicron is hospitalizing people, and it is killing people,” Tedros noted.

He said the “tsunami of cases is so huge and quick” and it is overwhelming the world’s health systems.

During the week from Dec. 27, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022, following a gradual increase since October, the global number of new cases jumped up by 71% compared to the previous week, while the number of new deaths decreased by 10%, according to WHO. This corresponds to just under 9.5 million new cases and over 41,000 new deaths reported during the last week.

To end the acute stage of the pandemic, countries need to share highly effective scientific tools fairly and quickly with the world, he urged.

“Vaccine inequity and health inequity overall were the biggest failures of last year,” said Tedros and noted that on current trajectories that 109 countries will miss the WHO’s target of fully vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by mid-2022 said Tedros. Continue Reading

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