Jul 21, 2021 - World

World is in early stages of a new COVID-19 wave, WHO chief warns

Picture of Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday warned that the world is in the early stages of another wave of coronavirus infections and deaths.

What he's saying: The global failure to share vaccines, testing and treatments has led to a "two-track pandemic — the haves are opening up, while the have-nots are locking down," said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a speech to an International Olympic Committee meeting.

  • "Nations that have adequate resources like vaccines are opening up, while others are locking down in a bid to slow the virus' transmission," Tedros added, referring to this discrepancy as a "horrifying injustice."
  • "This is not just a moral outrage, it’s also epidemiologically and economically self-defeating," Tedros said. "The pandemic is a test and the world is failing."
  • "The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It’s in our hands ... We have all the tools we need: we can prevent this disease, we can test for it, and we can treat it," he noted.

Tedros called the pandemic a "test" and added that the world is "failing," mentioning that more than 4 million people have died.

What to watch: Tedros said that along with the heads of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, he is calling for "a massive global push" to vaccinate at least 10% of the population in each country by September, at least 40% by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022.

  • "If we reach those targets, we can not only end the pandemic, we can also reboot the global economy."
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