When the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its early stages a year ago, the World Health Organization’s director-general emphasized that the best way out of the crisis will be to take a global approach.
In April 2020, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a media conference, “The way forward is solidarity: solidarity at the national level, and solidarity at the global level.”
After a year, the devastation in India, where hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and thousands are dying from a shortage of oxygen, suggests that the alerts were ignored.
India isn’t the only COVID-19 hotspot in the world. Turkey went into its first nationwide lockdown on Thursday, an unwelcome measure triggered by Europe’s highest infection rates.
On Monday, Iran announced its highest daily COVID-19 death toll yet, with several towns and cities put on partial lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading further. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, has reported that the country is experiencing a fourth wave of infections.
Most of South America is still in a bleak situation. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Brazil continues to have the highest daily rate of COVID-19 deaths per million in the world, with over 14.5 million reported coronavirus cases and nearly 400,000 deaths.
As hotspots arise, some countries have provided assistance, such as sending oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and other medical supplies to India in recent days. However, the concerted global response recommended by Mr Tedros a year ago — and reiterated by WHO and other global health organizations since then — remains elusive.
Although some Western countries are anticipating a return to normalcy in the coming weeks, the global picture remains bleak. According to WHO, the number of global COVID-19 cases has increased for the ninth week in a row, and the number of deaths has increased for the sixth week in a row.
Mr Tedros explained, “To put it in perspective, there were almost as many cases globally last week as there were in the first five months of the pandemic.”
COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing program that offers lower-income countries reduced or free vaccine doses, is also the best hope most people have of getting the vaccine doses needed to stop the pandemic.
Simultaneously, Western nations have been chastised for their vaccine stockpiles. The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, for example, have ordered much more vaccine doses than they need.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday that the UK had no spare vaccines to send to India, despite the fact that the country is already vaccinating healthy people in their 40s and has already provided at least one dose to all of its older and more vulnerable citizens. The UK government has stated that excess doses would be shared at a later date.
The SII is an acronym for “Secondary “More vaccine doses are made and produced by them than by any other single organization. And, of course, this implies that they will be able to give vaccines to people in India at a low cost “Hancock remarked.
“The greatest contribution that we can make that effectively comes from British science is that India can develop its own vaccine, based on British technology.”
According to data released on Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone aged 16 and up is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and 30% of the population has been completely vaccinated. Following a federal safety review, the White House announced earlier this week that it will donate up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which it has a stockpile but has not yet approved, in the coming months.
The coronavirus vaccine has been provided to well over half of Israel’s population, and the country is loosening its restrictions.
According to Mr Tedros, only 0.2 percent of the over 700 million vaccine doses given globally were given in low-income countries as of early April, while high-income and upper middle-income countries accounted for more than 87 percent of the doses.