GENEVA (AP) – Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to decline in almost every region of the world, an indicator considered positive by the World Health Organization.
Last week, 4.5 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported, down 16% from the previous week, the United Nations health agency said on Wednesday. Deaths fell to 13,500, a decrease of 13%.
The WHO said cases and deaths fell across all regions in Southeast Asia, where they rose 15%, and in the western Pacific, where they rose 3%.
The WHO director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that with the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the possible emergence of new forms, there could be an increase in cases and deaths from COVID-19. He said vaccination rates remain low even in rich countries, with only 30% of health workers and 20% of the elderly being vaccinated.
“These gaps present a risk to all of us,” the WHO chief declared. “Please, if you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated, and get a booster if it’s recommended.”
On Wednesday, US medical officials approved their first updated version of the vaccine to tackle the Omicron variant, which is now the most common. He said the first vaccines could be available in the next few days.
Until now, vaccines attacked the original strain of COVID-19, but new forms have emerged. Newer vaccines in the United States are of one type called “bivalent”, i.e. half the original version and the other attacking the latest versions of Omicron, called BA.4 and BA.5, which are by far the most infectious. . ,
A few days ago, Great Britain decided to introduce a booster vaccine to people 50 and older in addition to Moderna, a combination that fights the BA.1 omicron variant.
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency will consider approval of combination vaccines to combat BA.1 made by Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna. The agency is also testing a second version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to combat the BA.5 subvariant.