“At the current trajectory, we could pass 300 million cases early next year,” he said during a media briefing. “But we can change that. We are all in this together, but the world is not acting like it.”
The number of recorded covid-19 cases had reached 200 million last week, just six months after the world passed 100 million cases, Tedros noted, “and we know that the real number of cases is much higher.”
At the briefing, WHO officials emphasized that more research was being done on treatment for covid-19 in an unprecedented multicountry trial called Solidarity Plus, which will look at the effectiveness of three new drugs in 52 countries.
Officials also said the spread of virulent variants such as delta would change assumptions about herd immunity and vaccination targets.
“There’s no specific number or magic number that needs to be achieved. Its really related to how transmissible the virus is,” said Katherine O’Brien, director of the WHO’s immunization department.
“What’s been happening with coronavirus . . . is that as variants are emerging and are more transmissible, it does mean that a higher fraction of people need to be vaccinated to likely achieve some level of herd immunity,” O’Brien said.