The World Well being Group on Tuesday mentioned weekly new Covid deaths have fallen to the bottom stage since March 2020, however warned a worldwide decline in testing for the virus might hinder its efforts to combat the pandemic.
The world recorded 15,668 new deaths within the final seven days, with Europe and the Americas representing a bulk of that quantity, in line with WHO information. The determine dropped from greater than 18,000 new deaths reported throughout the week that ended on April 17, the WHO’s newest epidemiological report mentioned.
Each new deaths and circumstances recorded worldwide have declined since late March, the report mentioned.
The decline in deaths is nice information that “we should welcome with some warning,” WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus instructed reporters at a press briefing. He warned that a number of international locations have diminished Covid testing, which limits the WHO’s capacity to trace the virus’ results and patterns of transmission and evolution.
“This virus will not go away simply because international locations stopped in search of it. It is nonetheless spreading, it is nonetheless altering, and it is nonetheless killing,” Tedros mentioned. “Though deaths are declining, we nonetheless do not perceive the long-term penalties of an infection in those that survive. In the case of a lethal virus, ignorance just isn’t bliss.”
He mentioned the WHO calls on all international locations to take care of Covid surveillance programs, which embody testing and genome sequencing.
Covid testing charges worldwide have plummeted by 70% to 90% within the final 4 months, mentioned Dr. Invoice Rodriguez, CEO of worldwide diagnostics nonprofit FIND.
Rodriguez, who was a visitor professional on the briefing, mentioned the decline in testing undermines the world’s capacity to deal with Covid with new therapeutics.
Pfizer’s Paxlovid, as an illustration, is an oral antiviral remedy that requires “immediate and correct testing” earlier than administration, which is beneficial inside 5 days of when signs begin, in line with Tedros. He mentioned testing is one among a number of challenges that restrict the impact of the remedy that’s in any other case straightforward to manage and may forestall hospitalizations.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, additionally mentioned the worldwide decline in testing offers her “little confidence within the variety of circumstances being reported all over the world.”