During a World Health Organization briefing on COVID-19 on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked for more financing to combat the lethal Delta variant’s spread, as well as a suspension of plans for booster shots in wealthier countries.
International efforts to decelerate the COVID-19 Delta form have been impeded by its unusually lethal character, which has resulted in hotspots of hospitalizations and deaths in areas where vaccination levels are low and public health measures are lacking.
Tedros asserted that the problem can be solved, citing the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan as an example.
However, an additional $1 billion is required to complete this proposal. Similarly, a $7.7 billion fundraising campaign has been initiated to expand the ACT-Accelerator initiative, which provides health workers with diagnostics, treatments, immunizations, and protective equipment, as well as increased research and development into the next generation of health instruments.
In response to efforts by certain governments to provide booster vaccines, Tedros emphasized that only ten countries received 75 percent of all vaccine supplies and that low-income countries have only immunized about 2% of their populations.
Given the massive disparity, the top WHO official advocated for a temporary ban on boosters to allow supplies to be relocated to countries facing significant outbreaks.
While the WHO has convened health experts to debate the available facts on the usefulness of boosters, delivering initial shots and protecting the most vulnerable remain the top priorities.
In an interconnected world where the COVID-19 virus is rapidly changing, the WHO chief stated that national leaders must commit to vaccination equality and global solidarity in order to preserve lives and halt the spread of variants.
Meanwhile, Carissa F. Etienne, director of the UN regional organization, told the press during the weekly Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) COVID-19 briefing that 1.4 million COVID-19 illnesses and approximately 20,000 deaths have been reported in the Americas in the last week.
Ms. Etienne singled out North America and Mexico as areas of special concern, citing an increase of more than a third in cases in the United States and more than half in cases in Canada. As hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients, more than two-thirds of Mexico’s states have been classified as “high” or “critical”.
Infections and deaths are also on the rise in the Caribbean region: cases are up 49% in Jamaica, and deaths are up 70%, while high increases are observed in Dominica, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.
In South America, the news was more upbeat, with most nations reporting a decrease in new cases.
Hospital occupancy in Brazil has fallen below 80% for the first time since November in all states.
Ms. Etienne, however, cautioned against complacency, stressing that transmission is still quite active.
Photo Credit: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/1098022