The highly contagious delta variant has reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against the spread of the disease by 40%, the WHO boss said Wednesday, urging people to continue wearing masks and other prohibition procedures.
“Vaccines save lives, but they do not completely prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Tetros Adonom Caprais explained at a regular news conference dedicated to the epidemic, which is wreaking havoc in Europe.
“Before the advent of the delta variant, vaccines reduced the spread by about 60%, and with delta it dropped to 40%,” he said.
“In many countries and communities, we fear that vaccines have brought an end to the epidemic and that there is a misconception that vaccinated people no longer need to take other precautionary measures,” he added.
The director general of the organization opened his traditional opening remarks on the situation in Europe, which was hit hard by the fifth wave of epidemics, which was caused by a combination of insufficient vaccination rates and recession – in anticipation of the dominance of the delta variant – in gestures and restrictions.
“Last week, more than 60% of COVID infections and deaths worldwide occurred in Europe,” Dr. Tetros recalled, adding that “these large numbers of cases translate into unbearable burdens on health systems and exhausted health workers.”
With more than 2.5 million cases and nearly 30,000 deaths reported in the past week, according to official data collected by the AFP, the Old Continent is the region most affected by the epidemic in the world. And the trend continues to increase.
On Tuesday, the WHO Europe warned of the “grip” of COVID-19 in Europe, which could cause 700,000 more deaths on the continent in the spring, in addition to the 1.5 million deaths already estimated.
“If you look closely at the developments, people in Europe are still in the pre-epidemic stage of social interactions, meetings and many other things, even in the midst of a very strong renaissance. In health systems,” condemned WHO Director of Emergencies Michael Ryan.
“The truth is, the virus continues to spread in these types of environments,” he warned, as winter urges people to spend more time indoors and is reluctant to ventilate, not to mention two years after the outbreak. There was a certain fatigue.
“All countries are vulnerable to this high prevalence and we must do everything we can to reduce our exposure to the virus,” he said.
Taking advantage of Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Maria van Kerkov, who is leading the fight against COVID at the WHO, recalled that all other gestures, especially vaccinations, need to be restricted, especially wearing. Mask, distance and ventilation of the rooms in which one is located.
Taking the analogy of Gruyère fragments, it allowed the virus to go through the holes individually, but it created a security barrier, and he regretted that many countries removed all the layers at once allowing the virus to restart.
He also warned of the risk of a more dangerous variation appearing than the delta if traffic continues to be too intense.
The chief scientist of the organization is Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, however, stressed that even with Delta, vaccines can be effective in “preventing more severe forms of the disease in more than 80% of cases”.