The number of fatalities caused by coronavirus has increased by 35% over the past four weeks and with the onset of cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere the risk of the infection spreading will only increase, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.
"Over the past four weeks, reported deaths globally have increased by 35%. Just in the past week, 15,000 people around the world lost their lives to COVID-19. 15,000 deaths a week is completely unacceptable when we have all the tools to prevent infections and save lives," the WHO director general said.
"With colder weather approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and people spending more time indoors, the risks for more intense transmission and hospitalization will only increase in the coming months," he stressed. Ghebreyesus explained that this concerns not only the coronavirus infection but other diseases as well, including flu.
"We are all tired of this virus and tired of the pandemic, but the virus is not tired of us," the official continued. He noted that over 90% of strains detected during testing belong to the BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strain. Ghebreyesus pointed out that countries began to share information on sequencing results less frequently. Compared to the beginning of this year, the weekly number of such exchanges has decreased by 90%, while the number of countries providing data has dropped by 75%.
As of August 16, the WHO has received reports on 588,757,628 coronavirus infections and on 6,433,794 fatalities since the onset of the pandemic.