New Delhi: The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) Friday warned that the world has entered a “new and dangerous phase” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “The world is in a new and dangerous phase. Many people are understandably fed up with being at home… but the virus is still spreading fast”.
According to a New York Times report Friday, Covid cases have spiked sharply across the south and west in the US — which has the most Covid cases in the world at 2.3 million — particularly in states that have eased restrictions on businesses. In Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Arizona, daily counts of new Covid cases reached their highest levels of the pandemic this week.
China, the first outbreak centre where officials proclaimed that they had vanquished the virus, saw Covid resurgence in Beijing. Residents of the Chinese capital are now facing new restrictions with schools getting shut and travel limits in place.
Across the world too, 81 nations have seen increasing numbers of new cases in the past two weeks, while only 36 have seen a decline, the report said.
India too is witnessing a surge in cases after most restrictions on businesses and movement of people were lifted earlier this month.
As of Saturday, India has recorded 3,95,048 Covid cases and 12,948 deaths. Around 19 per cent of these cases and 29 per cent of these deaths have come in just the last week. To be sure, Delhi and Maharashtra reported higher death toll in this period due to reconciliation of figures.
Countries reopening economies, but virus spreading fast
Ghebreyesus was quoted saying in the NYT report, “Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and their economies. But the virus is still spreading fast. It is still deadly and most people are still susceptible.”
The daily also quoted experts saying that more people are getting back to work “too soon” leading to a spread.
The report quoted Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and an influential policy maker within the US central bank system, as saying that cases may increase in South Carolina and Florida as they reopened before the virus was under control.
Dr Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Seattle and King County, Washington, also said in a statement Friday that a spike in cases was seen after restrictions were eased.
“As we move into Phase 2 and for the foreseeable future, our risk will be increasing, not decreasing,” Duchin said. “Covid-19 has not gone away, and we must take the ongoing risk very seriously.”
According to the NYT report, in Arizona and Texas, more people with Covid are hospitalised now than at any previous point in the pandemic.
“In Utah, the percent of positive tests compared with total tests reached the highest levels yet this month. In Nevada, the percent of positive tests recently began increasing again after more than a month of sustained declines,” the report said.