Dec 29, 2021 - World

WHO chief: Omicron and Delta leading to "tsunami" of COVID cases

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned during a press conference Wednesday that the circulation of both the Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19 "is leading to a tsunami of cases."

Why it matters: Surging caseloads will continue to put "immense pressure on exhausted health workers and health systems on the brink of collapse," Tedros said.

The big picture: The WHO director reiterated his call for vaccines to be distributed more equitably around the world and warned that booster shots in wealthy nations could disadvantage poorer ones, Reuters reported.

  • Tedros urged states to make a “new year’s resolution” to vaccinate 70% of their populations by July 2022, after nearly 100 member states failed to reach the goal of vaccinating 40% of their populations by the end of 2021, per AP.

What he's saying: "Delta and Omicron are now twin threats that are driving up cases to record numbers, which again, is leading to spikes in hospitalizations and deaths," Tedros said.

The bottom line: "This virus will continue to evolve and threaten our health system if we do not improve the collective response," he added.

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