CNBC – The World Health Organization is urging “extreme caution” against lifting public health measures in countries around the world as the Covid pandemic rages in countries with low vaccination rates and puts other regions at risk for the spread of variants.
Countries with high vaccination rates like the United States and the United Kingdom have been gradually lifting public health measures while other countries are battling their worst outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead said at a briefing Wednesday:
“We’re tracking this virus circulation all over the world and we are seeing sharp increases in far too many countries right now.”
The European region saw a 33% increase in Covid cases in the last week, but high vaccination rates can give the perception that the pandemic is over, WHO officials said.
“The idea that everyone is protected and it’s Kumbaya and everything is back to normal I think right now is a very dangerous assumption anywhere in the world.”
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said:
“This is not a flat curve, this is an increasing curve. Making assumptions that transmission will not increase because we’re opening up because of vaccines is a false assumption, transmission will increase when you open up. There are consequences.”
The delta variant that dominated the U.K. is now the dominant strain in the United States.
The variant is more transmissible and could result in more severe disease, though more studies are needed to confirm that, WHO officials have previously said.