On the same day the world hit the grim milestone of 4 million deaths from COVID-19, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the variants were causing a “wave of deaths” in some parts of the world with less access to vaccines.
“Variants are currently winning the vaccine race due to the inequitable production and distribution of vaccines,” Ghebreyesus said Wednesday at his bi-weekly conference in Geneva. “It shouldn’t be like this and it shouldn’t be like this in the future.”
Ghebreyesus called on economic leaders from the Group of 20 countries, which are due to meet this week, to work together to get vaccines and other health tools to less developed countries.
“Vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have won the lion’s share, is morally indefensible,” Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. “At this point in the pandemic, the fact that millions of healthcare and care workers still have not been vaccinated is abhorrent. “
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WHO COVID-19 Technical Officer Maria Van Kerkhove noted that the Delta variant, which started in India, has now been detected in 104 countries.
“The Delta variant has even higher transmissibility than the Alpha variant,” Van Kerkhove said Wednesday. “If this virus takes hold, it will spread.”
The Delta variant became the dominant strain in the United States on Wednesday, as it is responsible for 51.7% of new cases, according to the CDC.
In some states, the Delta variant is even more dominant. It is currently responsible for 80% of cases in Utah, which has averaged nearly 400 new cases per day over the past week, nearly double the state’s number of cases in early June, said this week the deputy director of the state health department. In Missouri, the Delta variant is responsible for 73.3% of new cases, according to the CDC.
While the spread of the Delta variant is concerning, the three vaccines that have been approved for emergency use in the United States appear to protect people from it.
The Biden administration is now moving forward with a new “door-to-door” vaccination campaign after failing to meet its July 4 goal of vaccinating 70% of the population.
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“We have to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and often door to door, literally knocking on doors,” Biden said Tuesday of his administration’s new vaccination plan, which sparked a backlash from some Tory lawmakers. . .
According to the CDC, 67.2% of American adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 58.4% are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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