Global COVID deaths jumped 60% in past 6 weeks: WHO chief

GENEVA

The light is getting brighter with COVID-19 vaccines available, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday, but expressed concern that there is a 60% global increase in deaths in the last six weeks. and a duplication in Europe.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, but we have to face some of the challenges to make the light really bright,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said at a WHO webinar held. performs twice a week from Geneva on COVID-19. .

“In the last six weeks, the number of weekly deaths has increased by about 60%,” Tedros said.

“Most cases and deaths occur in Europe and the Americas,” he said, while another WHO official noted that the increase in Europe in that period was 100%.

Tedros said that this week, COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out in Britain, with more countries expected to follow.

“Having safe and effective vaccines against a virus that was completely unknown to us just a year ago is an amazing scientific achievement,” he said.

The WHO chief said the current holiday season is a time to relax and celebrate.

“But we must not lower our guard. The celebration can quickly turn into mourning if we don’t take the proper precautions, ”said Tedros.

He urged people to consider their plans carefully as they prepare to celebrate the next few weeks.

“If you live in an area with high transmission, please take every precaution to stay safe and protect others,” Tedros said.

He noted that COVID-19 had triggered a deep global economic crisis that could have a lasting impact on the financing of children’s health and education.

The COVID-19 crisis provided an opportunity to restart in countries with weak health financing systems.

“Prolonged school closings present an unprecedented challenge to the education, health and well-being of children.”

“We know that while children are at less risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 than older adults, millions of children have experienced the pandemic in other ways, including the disruption of their education,” Tedros said.

He cited data compiled by UNESCO, showing that the classrooms of nearly 1 in 5 schoolchildren worldwide, or 320 million, were closed on December 1, an increase of nearly 90 million in just one month.

In some places, children have been out of school for 9 months or more.

“Prolonged school closings present an unprecedented challenge to the education, health and well-being of children.”

Today, the WHO released a new checklist to help schools reopen and prepare for the resurgence of COVID-19 and similar public health crises.

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