Speaking on Monday, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, laid out how “we’re in a critical point of the pandemic” despite some nations claiming to have brought the virus domestically under control, as “cases” globally are currently eight times higher than they were a year ago.
“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic where we have proven control measures.”
Citing recent figures, the infectious disease epidemiologist said “cases” have been “growing exponentially,” with the WHO documenting more than 4.4 million new infections per week worldwide.
The week’s global case figures are the highest for a seven-day period since mid-January.
The stark remarks come as states in America and parts of the United Kingdom ease their lockdown restrictions, claiming the virus has been brought under control through COVID-19 restrictions and the fast rollout of their vaccination programs.
However, while some states are starting to relax, the WHO official highlighted how other countries are still crippled by the virus, as vaccinations “aren’t here yet in every part of the world.”
Taking a similar line to his colleague, the WHO’s emergencies program head, Dr Mike Ryan, said the virus is becoming “stronger” and “faster” due to the spread of mutated strain.
He warned countries to maintain safety measures, such as mask mandates and social distancing.
The WHO’s latest comments on the state of the pandemic follow the news that India has surpassed Brazil as the second worst-infected country in the world, only behind the US. The government in New Delhi has recorded more than 13.5 million “cases” across the country since the start of the pandemic.
Over 30.7 million COVID infections have been logged in the US to date.