The number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 continues to rise globally, mainly due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, which has spread to 132 countries, indicated World Health Organization (WHO).
The delta variant of COVID-19 is dangerous because it has certain mutations that allow the virus to adhere to human cells more easily.
Experts also note a higher viral load in infected people, explained Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Senior Epidemiologist and COVID-19 Technical Officer.
This variant is the SARS-CoV-2 virus the most transmissible to date.
Delta variant infections have increased in all regions of the world, some even reaching 80% more in the last month. In Africa, deaths have increased by 80% over the same period, the WHO has warned.
Increase in hospitalizations
“Some laboratory studies suggest an increase in replication in some of the modeled human airway systems,” added Dr Maria Van Kerkhove.
In terms of severity, Dr Van Kerkhove pointed out that there has been an increase in hospitalizations in some countries affected by the variant, “but we have not yet seen an increase in mortality”.
The WHO expert recalled that although some data suggests that vaccinated people can be infected and transmit the variant, the likelihood is much lower after the second dose has been given and reached its full effectiveness.
She also clarified that Delta does not specifically target children as some reports have suggested, but she warned that as long as the variants are circulating, they will infect anyone who does not take the necessary precautions.
A virus that continues to evolve
“The COVID-19 virus has evolved since it was first reported, and it continues to evolve. So far, four variants of concern have emerged, and there will be more as long as the virus continues to spread, ”said Dr Tedros.
« Delta is a warning that this virus is evolving, but it is also a call to action before more dangerous variants emerge », said Dr Michael Ryan, WHO’s executive director of health emergencies.
“Even if the virus becomes faster and more efficient”, the battle plan does not change, but it must be implemented more effectively, underlined Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of health emergencies of the WHO.
Dr Tedros blamed the increase in cases on increased social diversity and mobility, inconsistent use of social and public health measures, and inequitable distribution of vaccines.
He said “hard earned gains” are threatened or lost, and health systems in many countries are increasingly overwhelmed.
A vaccine for all
WHO chief Dr Tedros explained that WHO’s goal remains to help each country immunize at least 10% of its population by the end of September, at least 40% by the end of September. by the end of this year and 70% by the middle of next year.
«We are a long way from achieving these goals. To date, just over half of countries have fully vaccinated 10% of their population, less than a quarter of countries have vaccinated 40% of their population and only three countries have vaccinated 70% of their population, ”warned Mr. Tedros.
Tedros recalled that the global distribution of vaccines remains unfair, despite warnings and appeals from experts, and said all regions remain at risk, especially Africa.
“Based on current trends, nearly 70% of African countries will not meet the 10% vaccination target by the end of September,” he warned.
This article is adapted from an article in English that appeared on UN.news
Find out more: The COVAX initiative
Sorting through the information, our INFO / INTOX section