WHO warns global COVID-19 pandemic ‘growing exponentially’

Top World Health Organization (WHO) officials on Monday warned against “complacency” in fighting COVID-19 amid a troubling spike in cases worldwide.

There were 4.4 million new cases recorded in the last week, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, the seventh week in a row of increasing cases. That’s compared to about 500,000 cases per week a year ago. Deaths have been rising for four weeks.

“It is growing exponentially,” Van Kerkhove said of cases on a global basis.

Vaccines aren’t the only response: While vaccinations are rolling out and offer hope for gaining control of the pandemic, many countries, especially lower-income ones, have vaccinated only a small fraction of their population, amid a scramble for limited doses on a global scale.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries and individuals to maintain other precautions like masking, distancing and testing.

Global situation affects the US too: If the virus is circulating anywhere in high numbers, it provides opportunities for new variants of the virus to develop.