WHO: New Covid cases, deaths continue to fall almost everywhere


GENEVA: The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported around the world continued to fall almost everywhere in what the World Health Organization described as a “welcome drop” at a press conference Wednesday.
The United Nations health agency said 4.5 million new cases of Covid-19 were reported last week, down 16% from the previous week. Deaths have also fallen by 13%, with around 13,500 fatalities. The WHO said Covid-19 infections fell across the world while deaths fell everywhere except in Southeast Asia, where they climbed 15% and in the Western Pacific, where they increased by 3%.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that with winter on the way in the northern hemisphere and the possible emergence of a new, more dangerous variant of Covid-19, experts expect to see an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. death. Tedros said vaccination rates, even in wealthy countries, were still too low, noting that 30% of health workers and 20% of the elderly are still not immunized.
“These immunization gaps pose a risk to all of us,” he said. “Please get vaccinated if you are not and a booster if it is recommended to have one.”
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized its first update to Covid-19 vaccines, booster doses that target the most common omicron strain to date. Authorities said the shooting could begin within days.
Until now, Covid-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, although wildly different mutants have emerged. The new American boosters are combined or “bivalent” shots. They contain half the original vaccine recipe and half the protection against the latest versions of omicron, called BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered the most contagious to date.
Earlier this month, Britain decided to offer adults aged 50 and over a different booster option from Moderna, a combo shot targeting that initial BA.1 omicron strain.
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency will consider whether to authorize the combined Covid-19 vaccine comprising BA.1 made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Another version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine incorporating the BA.5 subvariant of omicron is also under review by the EU regulator.



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