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.