The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising globally, partly because of complacency setting in that vaccines will stop the spread of the disease.
The latest WHO report confirms more than 133.5 million cases of coronavirus infections, including nearly 3 million global deaths.
Data show a worrisome uptick in coronavirus cases and deaths in all regions of the world, with Africa slightly less affected than other regions.
WHO attributes this rise to several factors, including an increase in coronavirus variants, failure to practice public health measures and the resumption of so-called normal life when people emerge from lockdown.
Another problem says WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris is a growing complacency that the availability of vaccines will soon end the crisis.
“People are misunderstanding that, seeming to think that vaccination will stop transmission. That is not the case. We need to bring down the transmission while giving the vaccination the chance to stop the severe disease and the severe deaths,” Harris said.
The WHO reports nearly 670 million doses of vaccines have been administered globally. However, most of those doses have been given in wealthy countries. Furthermore, the WHO warns there is a critical shortage of vaccines.
Harris said some countries cannot start COVID-19 inoculation campaigns because of the serious shortfall of doses, especially in developing countries.
“So, again, what can be done about it? Doubling down on the public health social measures. Truly understanding we have to keep on social distancing, we have to avoid indoor crowded settings. We have to keep wearing the masks, even if vaccinated,” she said.
The good news, Harris added, is preliminary results from countries such as Britain show that vaccination programs have averted very large numbers of deaths.
However, until most of the world is vaccinated, she said people must not let down their guard. They must remain vigilant and practice the few simple public health measures that have been shown to work.