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Start of 2021 sees overall upward trend in COVID-19 situation: WHO official

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Following two weeks of lower reporting at the end of 2020, likely due to the holiday period, an overall upward trend of the COVID-19 outbreak has been seen in the first several weeks of 2021, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Monday.

Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said at the on-going 148th session of the WHO Executive Board that some 5 million cases of COVID-19 were reported last week globally.

The number of new deaths has also shown a similar trend, with over 93,000 deaths reported last week, and the figure is likely to reach 100,000 deaths per week very soon, he said.

Globally, as of 2:55 p.m. CET (1355 GMT) on Monday, there have been 93,611,355 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,022,405 deaths, reported to WHO.

According to Ryan, although nearly 84 percent of deaths were in people over 65, it is important to note that some 16 percent of all deaths were among those aged between 25 and 64.

The WHO official also said that the more cases a country has, the higher the mortality impact will be in the country’s population.

“So in that sense, the previous strategies of herd immunity, by mass infection rather than mass vaccination, will lead to high incidence and high mortality,” he said.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 64 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by WHO on Jan. 15.

(XINHUA)

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