Story at a glance
- WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the pandemic is still raging as the U.S. lifts public health restrictions.
- The CDC deemed that fully vaccinated people are safe to engage in certain maskless activities.
- The U.S. has a high vaccination rate of 37 percent, while other countries remain in single digit territory.
As the U.S. reaches its most optimistic stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the world is far from done with the pandemic.
Thanks to a high vaccination rate and relatively strong adherence to public health precautions, case counts and deaths are at all-time lows in the U.S., prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift many restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against complacency despite encouraging health data.
“There is a huge disconnect growing where in some countries with the highest vaccination rates, there appears to be a mindset that the pandemic is over, while others are experiencing huge waves of infections,” he said during a news conference, chronicled by CNBC.
“The pandemic is a long way far from over. It will not be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” he added.
As mask restrictions relax for certain settings in the U.S. among fully vaccinated people, countries like India and Brazil are dealing with comparably high spread of the virus and still have low vaccination rates in comparison to the U.S.
Tedros addressed the most recent surge in India and stated that the agency is working on the situation, but it needs more funding to continue its support in the country.
He further added that vaccine manufacturers need to donate supplies to COVAX, the vaccine sharing program established by the WHO to avoid vaccine hoarding by wealthier countries.
Despite the optimistic figures in the U.S. — represented by a 33 percent decline in new cases — variants of the virus are still in circulation. Recently, cases of the same contagious variant circulating in India have been reported in several states.