"Virus is neither under control nor pandemic overdue," warns WHO

The head of covid-19 management at the World Health Organization (WHO), Maria Van Kerkhove, warned on Tuesday that the new coronavirus is not yet under control, with many people wrongly believing that the pandemic is almost over.

According to the official, 3.1 million new infections and 54000 deaths were reported worldwide last week, with the actual numbers likely to be much higher.

"The situation is still incredibly dynamic. And it's dynamic because we have no control over this virus," the US epidemiologist said in a live chat on WHO social media.

He added, "We are not out of the woods yet. We are completely in the middle of this pandemic. But where in the middle ... we don't know yet, because frankly we're not using the tools we have right now to get close to the end."

Maria Van Kerkhove also lamented that in some cities intensive care units and hospitals are saturated, with people dying, "while on the streets people behave as if (the epidemic) is completely over."

The official also pointed out that the deaths occurred largely among people who were not vaccinated.

According to data provided by countries that report to the WHO "the rate of hospitalization and deaths is by far" higher "among those who have not been vaccinated," he said.

Maria Van Kerkhove also lamented the misinformation and false ideas circulating on the internet about covid-19, adding, "the result is that people are dying. We cannot gold-plate that."

The WHO is studying how the pandemic may evolve over the next three to 18 months. She said that there are still pockets of people who are not vaccinated, either because of lack of access to vaccines or because they refuse to be vaccinated, and there could still be epidemic outbreaks.

Lusa Agency

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