The head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the highly contagious delta variant had reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against disease transmission by 40%, and urged people to continue wearing masks and other barrier practices.
“Vaccines save lives, but they do not completely prevent transmission of COVID-19,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained during a regular press conference dedicated to the pandemic, which is wreaking havoc in Europe.
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“There is data to suggest that prior to the arrival of the delta variant, vaccines reduced transmission by about 60%, with delta as low as 40%,” he said.
“In many countries and communities, we fear that there is a misconception that vaccines have ended the epidemic, and that people who have been vaccinated no longer need to take other precautions,” he added.
The WHO Director-General opened his traditional opening remarks about the situation in Europe, hard-hit by the fifth wave of infection, caused by a combination of inadequate vaccination rates and inaction — arguably premature given the dominance of the delta variable in the region — in barrier gestures and restrictions.
“In the past week, more than 60% of worldwide infections and deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in Europe,” Dr. Tedros recalls, adding that “this huge number of cases translates into an intolerable burden on exhausted health systems.” and health workers.”
With more than 2.5 million cases and nearly 30,000 deaths recorded in the past week, the old continent is by far the region hardest hit by the pandemic, according to official data compiled by AFP. And the trend is still on the rise.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization in Europe was concerned about the “grip” of COVID-19 in Europe, which could cause an additional 700,000 deaths on the continent by spring, on top of the 1.5 million deaths already counted.
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