Nearly half a million new cases were reported each day in the seven days ending July 18, the agency said said late Tuesday in a weekly epidemiological update, warning against the relaxation of public health restrictions while vaccination coverage lags.
The agency blamed the global surge in part on the meteoric rise of the more transmissible delta variant, which has now spread to 124 countries and is on track to become the dominant coronavirus strain worldwide.
He also urged the officials, at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee, to make sure that any virus cases linked to the Games "are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible."
Some global and Japanese health experts have cautioned that the Games could become a "super-spreader" event. Tokyo on Wednesday reported its highest number of daily new cases since mid-January, the Kyodo news agency reported.
"The pandemic is a test. And the world is failing," Tedros said in his address.
"The global failure to share vaccines, tests and treatments. . . is fueling a two-track pandemic," he said. "The more transmission, the more variants will emerge with the potential to be even more dangerous than the delta variant that is causing such devastation now."
The WHO said in its weekly update that in many countries, the delta variant now accounts for more than 75 percent of sequenced virus samples, citing data from the open-access GISAID database headquartered in Germany. Those countries include Australia, Britain, China, Denmark, Israel, Russia and South Africa.
Also, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci said Tuesday that the delta variant is now the cause of more than 80 percent of new infections in the United States.
Published : July 22, 2021
By : The Washington Post · Erin Cunningham