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'100 cases every three seconds globally': WHO warns Covid-19 'not reaching its end game'

The global health body also warned that it is dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last Covid-19 variant.

  • WHO has warned to not assume that the Covid-19 pandemic is reaching its 'end game'.
  • It said that the world reported 100 cases every three seconds on average last week.
  • The global health body said that 'it's true' that the world will be living with Covid-19 for foreseeable future.

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'100 cases every three seconds globally': WHO warns Covid-19 'not reaching its end game'

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday (January 24, 2022) said that the world reported 100 Covid-19 cases every three seconds on average last week and warned to not assume that the pandemic is reaching its 'end game'. 

Speaking at the opening of the 150th session of the WHO Executive Board, head of the global health body Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there are different scenarios for how the pandemic could play out, and how the acute phase could end – but it is dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last variant.

"It's dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last variant and that we are in the end game," he said.

The WHO Director-General said that since Omicron was first identified just nine weeks ago, more than 80 million infections have been reported to WHO - more than were reported in the whole of 2020.

"On the contrary, globally the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge," Tedros added.

He said that this Sunday (January 30) marks two years since the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern – the highest level of alarm under international law – over the spread of Covid-19.

"At the time, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths reported outside China. Two years later, almost 350 million cases have been reported, and more than 5.5 million deaths – and we know these numbers are an underestimate," he said.

"On average last week, 100 cases were reported every three seconds, and somebody lost their life to COVID-19 every 12 seconds," he stated.

World will be living with Covid-19 for foreseeable future

The WHO chief said that 'it's true' that the world will be living with Covid-19 for the foreseeable future, and that we will need to learn to manage it through a sustained and integrated system for acute respiratory diseases.

"But learning to live with COVID cannot mean that we give this virus a free ride. It cannot mean that we accept almost 50 thousand deaths a week, from a preventable and treatable disease," he said and added that to change the course of the pandemic, the world must change the conditions that are driving it.

World can end Covid-19 as a global health emergency in 2022

The head of the global health body said that he recognizes that everyone is 'tired of this pandemic' and that many governments are walking a tightrope, attempting to balance what is effective with what is acceptable to their people.

He said that WHO continues to work nationally, regionally and globally to provide the evidence, the strategies, the tools and the technical and operational support countries need.

"If countries use all of these strategies and tools in a comprehensive way, we can end the acute phase of the pandemic this year – we can end Covid-19 as a global health emergency, and we can do it this year," he added.

Tedros said that the world can end Covid-19 as a global health emergency by achieving the target of vaccinating 70% of the population of every country, with a focus on the most at-risk groups; by reducing mortality through strong clinical management; by boosting testing and sequencing rates globally to track the virus closely, and monitor the emergence of new variants. 

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