A top scientist at the World HEalth Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that the world is shifting further away from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, owing to factors like viral variants, social mixing, the flouting of public health measures and vaccine inequities.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist and WHO COVID-19 technical lead, noted an 11.5 percent increase in global cases over the last week, with a 1 percent increase in deaths. Europe saw a 21 percent uptick in infections last week, while the Western Pacific experienced a nearly 30 percent increase, for instance. Though data reflects a slight dip in the African region, Kerkhove warned Africa is experiencing a high level of cases and an approximate 60 percent increase in deaths.
The highly transmissible Delta variant is the latest of four such viral variants of concern under surveillance. The variant, detected in at least 111 countries, has also been blamed for COVID-19 cases rising across the US CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on