Covid-19 still kills 15,000 people a week, warns WHO official

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Maria Van Kherkove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases unit, reports that Covid-19 still claims 15,000 lives every week. She recalls the importance of policies to combat the virus.

“I know we’re tired, but when did it become acceptable?” This is the question asked by Maria Van Kerkhove, an American epidemiologist and head of the emerging diseases unit of the World Health Organization (WHO). In a Twitter thread, published this Saturday, she recalls that the fight against Covid-19 is not over. Away from.

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Start by remembering the numbers of this pandemic. The WHO estimates that the disease has killed more than 6.443 million people worldwide.. Some 15,000 people still die each week from the virus. “15,000 mothers, daughters, fathers, sisters, friends… people we love,” lists Maria Van Kerkhove.

A spike in pollution around the world

The virus continues to circulate, recalls the epidemiologist. On a global scale, we can even speak of an epidemic rebound.

“Dans le monde, sur les quatre dernières semaines, 26,722,228 nouveaux cas et 62,892 nouveaux décès ont été signalés à l’OMS. Cela represents 15% of nouveaux cas and 35% of nouveaux décès sur cette période”, détaille-t- she.

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The Omicron BA.5 variant is still in the majority. But according to Maria Van Kherkove, the decline in testing, sequencing and general surveillance “greatly complicates our ability to track down known variants and detect new ones.”

Maria Van Kherkove also claims that the virus does not yet behave in a “seasonal” or “predictable” manner. On the question of variants, she adds that “future variants will be more transmissible, they will more easily escape the immune system.” “But we don’t know if they will be more or less serious,” she adds.

The importance of vaccination policies

To fight the epidemic, this WHO official recalls the importance of public health campaigns: “Now lives can be saved thanks to early tests, adequate medical care and vaccination.”

“There is no zero risk, but we can live our lives by taking simple steps: get vaccinated with all recommended doses, wear a mask indoors, spend time outdoors, ventilate, get tested, get care,” he said.

In France, after a seventh wave of Covid-19 in early summer and a peak of 150,000 daily infections in July, the situation seems to have stabilized. In its latest weekly update on the epidemic, Public Health France notes a “continued decline in circulation” of the virus.

But a recovery is always possible: Brigitte Autran, president of the Health Risk Monitoring and Anticipation Committee, estimated last Tuesday that the arrival of a new wave in the fall was almost certain.

Author: Quentin Miller
Source: BFM TV

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