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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.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters, WHO says — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker
Hope King, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

First look: Senators propose bill to ban corporate PACs

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly. Photos: Chip Somodevilla (left), Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will soon propose a bill prohibiting for-profit corporations from establishing and managing political action committees, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The introduction of "The Ban Corporate PACs Act" comes amid heightened scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding money in politics, including efforts to bar companies from influencing political campaigns and federal elections. It would likely face a court challenge and First Amendment concerns.