COVID-19 deaths up by 21%, cases could exceed 20 million in 2 weeks: WHO

In its weekly epidemiological update, the UN health agency said most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia, taking the cumulative deaths to over 4 million.

New Delhi: The COVID-19 cases in India might have decreased to a less worrying number, but the threat still exists and the world might witness a third wave.

The number of worldwide deaths from coronavirus disease (Covid-19) jumped 21% over the past week, said the World Health Organization (WHO) as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc.

In its weekly epidemiological update, the UN health agency said most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the America and Southeast Asia, taking the cumulative deaths to over 4 million.

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“The highest numbers of deaths per 100,000 population over the past week were observed in the Americas and South-East Asia Regions which reported 2.8 and 1.1 new deaths per 100,000 population, respectively,” the report said.

The overall Covid-19 cases across the globe also jumped by 8% as about 540,000 daily infections were reported on average over the past week. The UN health agency warned about the rise in Covid-19 cases, saying “if these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks.”

Over the past week, the biggest numbers of new Covid-19 cases were reported from the US, Brazil, Indonesia, Britain and India, according to the report. While America and Brazil reported an increase in Covid-19 cases, Indonesia and Britain reported a decline. Negligible change in India’s Covid-19 cases was reported in the last week.

Addressing the widespread concern over vaccine efficacy against variants of concern, the WHO said that though studies have shown a several-fold reduction in neutralization against variants, it does not directly correlate with reduced vaccine efficacy.

Explaining the reasons, the UN agency stated that there is currently no known threshold of neutralization below which vaccines stop working. It also noted that some vaccines produce higher neutralizing antibody concentrations, so a reduction will “likely have a lesser effect” on the vaccine efficacy.

The Union Home Ministry Wednesday said there is no room for complacency in the approach to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as the absolute number of positive cases is still significantly high.

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