Last Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that global cases and deaths are rising for the first time in two months. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this was caused by continued increases in Europe.
“It’s another reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over,” Tedros said on Thursday, pointing out that the increases in Europe are greater than the decreases elsewhere.
“The pandemic is continuing largely because there is still unequal access to resources,” he said, adding that 80 times more tests and 30 times more vaccines have been administered in high-income countries than low-income countries.
From Wuhan to the World
The first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines in early February 2020 – a 44-year-old Chinese man who had flown into the country from Wuhan.
The epidemics of different countries have followed different trajectories. The United States has been hardest hit, with the highest number of cases and deaths. According to JHU, about 46 million cases have been reported in the country and more than 745,800 patients have died.
That surpasses the estimated death toll in the US from the 1918 flu pandemic, the deadliest pandemic of the 20th century.
The highly transmissible Delta variant also increased the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths worldwide as it became the dominant Covid strain, overwhelming many countries and places previously gripped by the pandemic.
Tedros said that if vaccine doses so far delivered globally had been fairly distributed, “we would now have reached our 40% target in each country.”
There is also considerable hesitation about vaccines in many countries, especially the US.
“It is the unvaccinated that are driving this current wave that is resulting in many hospitalizations, the need for intensive care units and the record number of deaths we are seeing,” Dr. Henry Bernstein, a former member of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, told CNN in September.
Reopening the world
Vaccines have allowed many countries to gradually open up, with most of the world now easing restrictions and opening borders to live with the virus.
CNN’s Naomi Thomas reported.