By MARIA CHENG and JAMEY KEATEN, Related Press
GENEVA (AP) — A senior World Well being Group official mentioned Monday it was “untimely” and “unrealistic” to suppose the pandemic is perhaps stopped by the tip of the yr, however that the current arrival of efficient vaccines might no less than assist dramatically scale back hospitalizations and loss of life.
The world’s singular focus proper now must be to maintain transmission of COVID-19 as little as attainable, mentioned Dr. Michael Ryan, director of WHO’s emergencies program.
“If we’re good, we are able to end with the hospitalizations and the deaths and the tragedy related to this pandemic” by the tip of the yr, he mentioned at media briefing.
Ryan mentioned WHO was reassured by rising information that lots of the licensed vaccines look like serving to curb the virus’ explosive unfold.
“If the vaccines start to affect not solely on loss of life and never solely on hospitalization, however have a big affect on transmission dynamics and transmission threat, then I consider we’ll speed up towards controlling this pandemic.”
However Ryan warned towards complacency, saying that nothing was assured in an evolving epidemic.
“Proper now the virus could be very a lot in management,” he mentioned.
WHO’s director-general, in the meantime, mentioned it was “regrettable” that youthful and more healthy adults in some wealthy international locations are being vaccinated towards the coronavirus earlier than at-risk well being employees in creating international locations.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned immunizations offered by the U.N.-backed effort COVAX started this week in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, however lamented that this was taking place solely three months after international locations comparable to Britain, the U.S. and Canada started vaccinating their very own populations.
“International locations will not be in a race with one another,” he mentioned. “This can be a widespread race towards the virus. We aren’t asking international locations to place their very own individuals in danger. We’re asking all international locations to be a part of a worldwide effort to suppress the virus all over the place.”
However WHO stopped in need of criticizing international locations who’re transferring to vaccinate youthful and more healthy populations as an alternative of donating their doses to international locations that have not but been capable of defend their most weak individuals.
“We won’t inform particular person international locations what to do,” mentioned Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO adviser.
Tedros additionally famous that for the primary time in seven weeks, the variety of COVID-19 circumstances elevated final week, after six consecutive weeks of declining numbers. He described the rise as “disappointing,” however mentioned it wasn’t stunning.
Tedros mentioned WHO was working to higher perceive why circumstances elevated, however that a part of that spike seemed to be as a result of “stress-free of public well being measures.”
AP Medical Author Maria Cheng reported from London.
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