As countries rush to vaccinate their citizens, the global death toll topped 4 million on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Delta variant is spreading in some countries where vaccinations are delayed, causing a “wave of deaths,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
“Variants are currently winning the vaccine race due to inequitable vaccine production and distribution,” Ghebreyesus said at his bi-weekly conference in Geneva. “It shouldn’t be like this and it shouldn’t be like this in the future.”
The death toll is roughly the number of people killed in each battle since 1982, according to estimates by the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, and more than three times the number of people killed in road crashes globally each year.
Even then, it is widely believed that this is an undercoverage due to overlooked cases or willful concealment.
Global death rates are currently less than half of the highest point in January, with more than 18,000 deaths per day.
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Yet the variant has also taken hold in countries with higher vaccination rates like the UK, Israel and the US, spreading among the remaining unvaccinated populations.
Britain, in fact, recorded a day-long total of over 30,000 new infections this week for the first time since January, even as the government prepares to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions in England over late this month.
Israel was forced to reissue its order for indoor masks last month amid an increase in the number of cases after lifting it, according to The Times of Israel.
Meanwhile, the United States and other wealthy countries have agreed to share at least 1 billion doses with struggling countries that do not have access to injections.
The United States has the highest death toll in the world, with more than 600,000, or nearly one in 7 deaths, followed by Brazil with more than 520,000, although the actual numbers are much higher in Brazil , where the far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro has long downplayed the importance of the virus.
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Variants, unequal access to vaccines and relaxation of precautions in richer countries constitute “a very dangerous toxic combination,” warned Ann Lindstrand, senior immunization official at the World Health Organization.
Instead of treating the crisis as a ‘myself-me-and-my-country’ problem, she said, “we have to take seriously that it is a problem. global which requires global solutions ”.
Paul Best of The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.
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