3.3 million lives lost due to Covid, pandemic must end: WHO chief
Covid-19 has surpassed the number of 3.3 million deaths, which was more deaths by HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020. WHO said that “2022 must be the year we end the pandemic”.
“2022 must also be the year that all countries invest in preventing a future disaster on this scale, and in accelerating efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing on Monday (local time), stressing that “2022 must be the year we end the pandemic.”
“That means investing in resilient health systems, built on primary health care, with universal health coverage as the goal,” he added.
“That’s not to mention the unreported deaths, and the millions of excess deaths caused by disruptions to essential health services,” he added.
Africa was at the lowest bar of Covid-19 cases a month ago and is now facing a steep wave of infections, driven largely by the Omicron variant, Tedros said.
“There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant. And it is more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or reinfected,” he added.
Tedros expressed his concern over the holiday season that might be the reason for a lot of social mixing and leading to increased Covid-19 cases.
Tedros also emphasized on the possibilities of cancelling or postponing major events and said, “But an event cancelled is better than a life cancelled.”
Stressing that it is better to cancel now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later, he said: “None of us wants to be here again in 12 months’ time, talking about missed opportunities, continued inequity, or new variants.”
“Even before the pandemic, one billion people were spending more than 10% of their household budget on health care. When people can’t access the services they need, or can’t afford them, individuals, families, communities and entire societies are put at risk.” said Dr Tedros.
"Even before the pandemic, one billion people were spending more than 10% of their household budget on health care.
When people can’t access the services they need, or can’t afford them, individuals, families, communities and entire societies are put at risk."-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 21, 2021
“If we are to end the pandemic in the coming year, we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year,” he added.
“Last week, WHO issued Emergency Use Listing for a ninth vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India under license from Novavax. This new vaccine is part of the Covax portfolio, and we hope that it will play an important role in achieving our global vaccination targets,” the WHO chief added further.