WHO: New Covid cases, deaths continue to fall almost everywhere – Times of India


GENVE: The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported worldwide continued to fall almost everywhere in what the World Health Organization described as a “welcome drop” during a media briefing Wednesday.
The UN health agency said 4.5 million new cases of Covid-19 were reported last week, down 16% from the previous week. The number of deaths also fell by 13%, with about 13,500 fatalities. The WHO said Covid-19 infections were declining around the world, while deaths declined everywhere except Southeast Asia, where they rose by 15% and in the Western Pacific, where they increased by 3%.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that with the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the possible emergence of a more dangerous new Covid-19 strain, experts expect a spike in hospitalizations and deaths. Tedros said vaccination rates were still too low even in rich countries, noting that 30% of health professionals and 20% of the elderly are not vaccinated.
“These vaccination gaps pose a risk to all of us,” he said. “Please get vaccinated if you’re not and a booster if it’s recommended that you have one.”
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved its first update of Covid-19 vaccines, booster doses targeting today’s most common strain of omicron. Authorities said shooting could begin within days.
Until now, Covid-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, even as wildly different mutants emerged. The new American boosters are combination or ‘bivalent’ shots. They contain half the original vaccine recipe and half the protection against the latest ommicron versions, called BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered the most contagious to date.
Earlier this month, Britain decided it would offer adults 50 and older a different booster option than Moderna, a combo shot targeting that original BA.1 ommicron species.
On Friday, the European Medicines Agency will consider whether to approve the combination vaccine against Covid-19 including BA.1 from 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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