Covid-19 deaths are accelerating WHO warns

Globally, new COVID-19 cases increased for the eighth consecutive week, with more than 5.2 million new cases reported in the last week –surpassing the previous peak in early January 2021 (Figure 1). The number of new deaths increased for the fifth consecutive week, an 8% increase as compared to the previous with over 83000 new deaths reported. Last week the reported cumulative COVID-19death toll surpassed 3 million lives; the pace of deaths is accelerating, it took nine months to reach 1 million deaths, another four to surpass 2 million, and just three to reach 3 million deaths. 


All regions except the European and Western Pacific regions reported an increase in the number of weekly deaths, with the largest increase in the South-East Asia Region followed by the Eastern Mediterranean Region, largely due to an increase in new deaths in the Islamic Republic of Iran.The countries reporting the highest number of new cases represent four of the six WHO regions: India (1429304 new cases; 64% increase), the United States of America (477 778 new cases; 2% increase), Brazil (459 281 new cases; 1% decrease), Turkey (414 312 new cases; 17% increase), and France (233 275 new cases; 12% decrease).

Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne cautioned that the pandemic continues to surge across the Americas. In the past week, more than 1.3 million people were infected with the virus and nearly 36,000 people died from the disease. “Since the pandemic began, 57 million cases have been reported in the Americas, with more than 1.3 million deaths,” she said. “We are not acting like a region in the midst of a worsening outbreak,” Dr. Etienne warned. “Despite ongoing transmission in many places, restrictions have relaxed. Crowds are back, and people are gathering indoors and taking public transportation, often without masks,” she continued. 


Dr. Etienne provided reassurance about the safety of the four vaccines authorized by WHO – the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and the Janssen vaccine. All have proven to be safe and effective. Rare reports of blood clots are under review by regulatory agencies, which are expected to make recommendations soon, she said. “In the meantime, it’s important to continue to administer AstraZeneca vaccines where they are available,” she said. “Almost 200 million people around the world have received AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, and the reports of adverse effects are very rare. These vaccines can save your life and the lives of your friends and family.”