WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

30-Jul-2021 00:04:48
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "Almost four million cases were reported to WHO last week, and on current trends, we expect the total number of cases to pass 200 million within the next two weeks. And we know that is an underestimate.” WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 4:48
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGAUGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
"Almost four million cases were reported to WHO last week, and on current trends, we expect the total number of cases to pass 200 million within the next two weeks. And we know that is an underestimate. On average, in five of WHO’s six regions, infections have increased by 80 per cent, or nearly doubled, over the past four weeks. In Africa, deaths have increased by 80 per cent over the same period. Much of this increase is being driven by the highly-transmissible Delta variant, which has now been detected in at least 132 countries."
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
"We are really trying to get a better handle on why the Delta variant is more transmissible. There are certain mutations in the Delta variant that for example allow the virus to adhere to a cell more easily. There is some laboratory studies that suggest that there is increased replication in the some of the modelled human airway systems. There are some laboratory studies that are looking at the CT value, or the viral load, of individuals who are infected with the Delta variant. And we're seeing lower CT values, which means a higher viral load in individuals with the Delta variant. So, there are a number of factors."
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
"But the SARS-CoV-2 virus and all of its variants are dangerous viruses. With the Delta variant, in terms of severity, we have seen a few countries demonstrate increased hospitalisation rates but we have not yet seen an increase in mortality. So, again, we are trying to better understand why we may be seeing that. But the Delta variant in terms of people who are infected with the variant, it has not yet translated into increased mortality.”
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan EXD, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
"There is no magic dust, it's been that way for the past 18 months. People keep asking for magic dust. It doesn't exist. The only magic dust we do have is vaccination. The problem is we are not sprinkling that evenly around the world and we're working against ourselves. So, from that perspective, Delta is a warning, it's a warning that this virus is evolving but it's also a call to action, that we need to move now before more dangerous variants emerge."
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
"All regions are at risk, but none more so than Africa. On current trends, nearly 70 per cent of African countries will not reach the 10% vaccination target by the end of September. Around 3.5 million to 4 million doses are administered weekly on the continent, but to meet the September target this must rise to 21 million doses at the very least each week. Many African countries have prepared well to roll out vaccines, but the vaccines have not arrived."
11. Wide shot, press briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General and Head of the ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub:
"If there needs to be a shift in our prioritisation, it is not in terms of target groups, "who" we are vaccinating, the shift needs to be in "where" we are vaccinating. We need to look at vaccinating. Great, we've covered the high-risk and oldest populations, health workers et cetera in the high income countries. We need to make sure we are doing it in the low income and other countries. So before moving down age groups, we need to look geographically at what we are doing."
13. Wide shot, press briefing room
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General and Head of the ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub:
"When will African countries be able to hit the level of immunity needed, what you call the threshold for reducing transmission, et cetera ? Unfortunately, Africa does not control, and the countries of Africa, that decision right now. Right now that decision rests with a number of CEOs on the boards of major companies that supply vaccines, of countries that produce vaccines and of countries that control the contracts for the majority of the world's vaccines. We need ALL of them working together, freeing up product, so it can get to the countries of Africa so that they can boost coverage levels."
15. Close up, WHO logo
STORYLINE
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "Almost four million cases were reported to WHO last week, and on current trends, we expect the total number of cases to pass 200 million within the next two weeks. And we know that is an underestimate.”

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (30 Jul), Tedros said, “On average, in five of WHO’s six regions, infections have increased by 80 per cent, or nearly doubled, over the past four weeks. In Africa, deaths have increased by 80 per cent over the same period. Much of this increase is being driven by the highly-transmissible Delta variant, which has now been detected in at least 132 countries."

WHO’s Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said, "We are really trying to get a better handle on why the Delta variant is more transmissible. There are certain mutations in the Delta variant that for example allow the virus to adhere to a cell more easily.”

Kerkhove continued, “There is some laboratory studies that suggest that there is increased replication in the some of the modelled human airway systems. There are some laboratory studies that are looking at the CT value, or the viral load, of individuals who are infected with the Delta variant. And we're seeing lower CT values, which means a higher viral load in individuals with the Delta variant. So, there are a number of factors."

She also said, “the SARS-CoV-2 virus and all of its variants are dangerous viruses. With the Delta variant, in terms of severity, we have seen a few countries demonstrate increased hospitalisation rates but we have not yet seen an increase in mortality.”

Kerkhove continued, “So, again, we are trying to better understand why we may be seeing that. But the Delta variant in terms of people who are infected with the variant, it has not yet translated into increased mortality.”


WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan also briefed the reporters. He said, "There is no magic dust, it's been that way for the past 18 months. People keep asking for magic dust. It doesn't exist. The only magic dust we do have is vaccination.”

Ryan added, “The problem is we are not sprinkling that evenly around the world and we're working against ourselves. So, from that perspective, Delta is a warning, it's a warning that this virus is evolving but it's also a call to action, that we need to move now before more dangerous variants emerge."

Dr Tedros also said, "All regions are at risk, but none more so than Africa.”

He explained, “On current trends, nearly 70 per cent of African countries will not reach the 10 per cent vaccination target by the end of September. Around 3.5 million to 4 million doses are administered weekly on the continent, but to meet the September target this must rise to 21 million doses at the very least each week. Many African countries have prepared well to roll out vaccines, but the vaccines have not arrived."

Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General and Head of the ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub said, "If there needs to be a shift in our prioritisation, it is not in terms of target groups, "who" we are vaccinating, the shift needs to be in "where" we are vaccinating.”

He continued, “We need to look at vaccinating. Great, we've covered the high-risk and oldest populations, health workers et cetera in the high income countries. We need to make sure we are doing it in the low income and other countries. So before moving down age groups, we need to look geographically at what we are doing."

Aylward also said, "When will African countries be able to hit the level of immunity needed, what you call the threshold for reducing transmission, et cetera? Unfortunately, Africa does not control, and the countries of Africa, that decision right now.”

He continued, “Right now that decision rests with a number of CEOs on the boards of major companies that supply vaccines, of countries that produce vaccines and of countries that control the contracts for the majority of the world's vaccines. We need ALL of them working together, freeing up product, so it can get to the countries of Africa so that they can boost coverage levels."
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