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'Blood on your hands' if world steps back on tackling COVID now - WHO official

Stock Markets Sep 23, 2022 02:22PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
 
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By Jennifer Rigby

LONDON (Reuters) -If rich nations think the pandemic is over, they should help lower-income countries reach that point too, a senior World Health Organization official told Reuters.

In an interview, WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward warned that richer nations must not step back from tackling COVID-19 as a global problem now, ahead of future potential waves of infection.

In the last few weeks, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the end of the pandemic was in sight, and U.S President Joe Biden said the pandemic was over.

"When I hear them say, 'Well, we're so comfortable here,' it's like, 'Great, now you can really help us get the rest of the world done'," said Aylward.

Aylward said that the group he co-ordinates, which focuses on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests worldwide, is not yet ready to move out of the emergency phase of tackling the pandemic and that countries need to be ready and have treatments in place for any further waves of infection.

"If you go to sleep right now and this wave hits us in three months... God - blood on your hands," he said.

He also stressed that Biden had a point domestically as the United States has good access to all COVID tools. It has also not cut its global commitment to fighting COVID, he added.

Aylward co-ordinates the ACT-Accelerator, a partnership between WHO and other global health bodies to help poorer countries access COVID-19 tools. The effort, which includes the vaccine-focused COVAX, has reached billions of people worldwide but has faced criticism for not acting quickly enough. There had been some speculation that the effort may wind up this autumn, but Aylward said it was simply changing its focus as the pandemic changes.

Over the next six months, the partnership will aim particularly at delivering vaccines to the roughly one quarter of the world's health care workers and elderly who have still not had a shot, as well as on improving access to test-and-treat, particularly with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)'s Paxlovid, he said.

It will also look to the future as COVID is "here to stay", and unless systems are put in place, support will collapse once other industrialised nations also think the pandemic is over, said Aylward.

The initiative already has an $11 billion gap in its budget, with most of its available $5.7 billion in funding pledged towards vaccines rather than tests or treatments.

 

'Blood on your hands' if world steps back on tackling COVID now - WHO official
 

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Comments (12)
Bernard Devlin
Bernard Devlin Sep 26, 2022 4:16PM ET
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The experimental gene-therapy Jabs do not give protection against Covid 19, nor do the experimental gene-therapy Jabs prevent a "vaccinee " from spreading the Covid-19.......
Jack Peterson
Jack Peterson Sep 25, 2022 9:39AM ET
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Biden says it’s over! We know how honest and humble he is!!! Lol
Jack Peterson
Jack Peterson Sep 25, 2022 9:38AM ET
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Biden says it’s over! We know how honest and humble he is!!! Lol
First Last
First Last Sep 23, 2022 4:04PM ET
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I disputed the carlos posted fact.
gene morris
gene morris Sep 23, 2022 2:48PM ET
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🤡
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Sep 23, 2022 2:25PM ET
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what a paternalistic kant, entitled piece of sit, go f yussef
First Last
First Last Sep 23, 2022 2:08PM ET
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carlos:  That's opinion (& spam), not fact.
Gayle Williams
Gayle Williams Sep 23, 2022 1:54PM ET
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what a bunch of *******
G D
G D Sep 23, 2022 12:21PM ET
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Weren't they the ones in bed with China over this though?
carlos guo
carlos guo Sep 23, 2022 12:04PM ET
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Fact check: Many published studies have shown that masks and lockdowns were pointless, with no differences in outcome between countries with mask mandates and lockdowns and those without. Quadruple vaxx'd Brandon just got COVID twice recently and spread it wife who also got it twice, despite vaccines and medications. More people have died from COVID under Biden than under Trump despite mass vaccination. Blue states like CA and NY with stricter lockdowns have had higher death rates than red states. Since start of mass vaccination, the risk of heart attacks and sudden death in young healthy people has risen drastically. They have even had to come up with the term "SADS" sudden adult death syndrome. This is not about science, this is politics. For most people COVID is less deadly than the common flu, for most people the consequences of government intervention is more harmful than COVID.
taylor jason
taylor jason Sep 23, 2022 12:04PM ET
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triggered much?
taylor jason
taylor jason Sep 23, 2022 12:04PM ET
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also name five of the "many" published studies you speak of
G D
G D Sep 23, 2022 12:04PM ET
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List the sources.
 
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