The world is at risk of losing hard-won gains in fighting COVID-19, as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads, but WHO-approved vaccines remain effective against the disease, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described the Delta variant of the coronavirus as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease, the Washington Post said, citing an internal CDC document.
Deaths in Africa -- where only 1.5 percent of the population is vaccinated -- rose by 80 percent over the same period.
“Hard-won gains are in jeopardy or being lost, and health systems in many countries are being overwhelmed,” Tedros told a news conference.
The Delta variant has been detected in 132 countries, becoming the dominant global strain, according to the WHO.
“The vaccines that are currently approved by the WHO all provide significant protection against severe disease and hospitalization from all the variants, including the Delta variant,” said WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan.
“We are fighting the same virus but a virus that has become faster and better adapted to transmitting amongst us humans, that’s the change,” he said.
A few countries have reported increased hospitalization rates but higher rates of mortality have not been recorded from the Delta variant, she said.