The World Health Organization will hold a press briefing at 10 a.m. (EDT) Friday as the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant remain an issue of international concern. While it was not immediately clear what the WHO would comment on in relation to the virus, it may touch on the subjects of vaccination and the delta variant.
WHO’s briefing comes days after the CDC updated its guidance to recommend even those fully vaccinated wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. with high transmission rates.
Check back with Newsweek for more updates.
No ‘Magic Solutions’ to Ending COVID-19, Epidemiologists Say
There will be no “magic solutions” to ending COVID-19, according to two infectious disease epidemiologists who spoke at the WHO briefing Friday.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkove said that the initiatives global health leaders have been pushing for moths, such as vaccines, wearing masks and testing, remain the keys to battling the pandemic.
Kerkove also said that while the delta variant is the “most transmissible” variant to date, it won’t be the last variant the WHO will have to address.
“We’re all in kindergarten when it comes to this virus,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, the other epidemiologist.
Ryan deemed the delta variant as a “call to action” since on average one person with the variant will infect additional people.
During his opening remarks, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for more surveillance, research and development when it comes to the virus. However, he affirmed that the pandemic “will end when the world chooses to end it.”
“The question is not whether the world can afford to make these investments, it’s whether the world can afford not to,” he said.
Just 2 Percent of Vaccines Administered Globally Were in Africa: WHO Director-General
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that only 2% of vaccines administered globally were in the entire continent of Africa, contributing to an overriding issue of vaccine inequity.
Ghebreyesus described Africa as one of the most at-risk places in the world from the virus, reporting an 80% increase in deaths in over the last four weeks. Despite the continent being ready to roll out vaccines to the population, it lacks the supplies to do so, he said.
Health systems in many countries are currently being overwhelmed by people with the virus, leading to shortfalls in treatment and supplies like life-saving oxygen.
Japan and International Olympic Committee ‘Did Their Best’: WHO Director-General
While speaking about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics during a news conference Friday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that Japan and the International Olympic Committee “have done their best.”
Ghebreyesus was able to attend the opening ceremony for the Olympics and address the IOC, and he said that these games will be “a reminder to the world of the pandemic for generations to come.”
The 2020 Olympics have been controversial among the citizens of Japan and others who worry that the event will further endanger the world from the virus.
However, Ghebreyesus believes that the Olympics show the world’s “determination to fight back” during a time when “we’re taken hostage by a dangerous virus.”
Global COVID-19 Cases Expected to Surpass 200 Million Within Next 2 Weeks: WHO
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general for the World Health Organization, said during a news conference Friday that the organization expects global cases of COVID-19 to surpass 200 million within the next two weeks.
This number, he said, is still an underestimation.
Ghebreyesus said that the world has all the tools and capability it needs to end the virus, but it “will end when the world chooses to end it.”