The number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths reported globally fell everywhere last week except the Middle East and Southeast Asia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In its latest weekly update on the pandemic, the U.N. health agency said Wednesday (June 8) that confirmed cases dropped 12% to more than 3 million and reported deaths declined 22% to about 7,600.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the continuing decline of COVID-19, which peaked in January, as “a very encouraging trend,” but warned that the pandemic was not yet over and urged caution, even as many countries have dropped their coronavirus protocols and shifted into trying to live with the virus.
Tedros noted that 18 months after the first mass COVID-19 immunization programs began in rich countries, 68 countries around the world have yet to protect 40% of their people. While enough vaccines are now available, demand has fallen, he said.
“The perception that the pandemic is over is understandable, but misguided,” the WHO chief said. “A new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time, and vast numbers of people remain unprotected.”