A dramatic drop in testing for Covid-19 has left the world blind to the virus’s persevering with rampage and its doubtlessly harmful mutations, the pinnacle of the World Well being Group has warned.
The UN well being company mentioned that reported Covid circumstances and deaths had been dropping dramatically.
“Final week, simply over 15,000 deaths had been reported to WHO – the bottom weekly complete since March 2020,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised reporters.
Whereas saying it is a “a really welcome development”, he warned that the declining numbers may be a results of vital cuts in testing for the virus.
“As many international locations scale back testing, WHO is receiving much less and fewer details about transmission and sequencing,” he mentioned. “This makes us more and more blind to patterns of transmission and evolution.”
“In the case of a lethal virus, ignorance shouldn’t be bliss.”
William Rodriguez, who heads the worldwide diagnostics alliance FIND, additionally decried that many governments in latest months merely stopped on the lookout for Covid circumstances.
Talking on the press convention hosted by WHO, he identified that previously 4 months, amid surging Covid circumstances from the Omicron variant, “testing charges have plummeted by 70% to 90% worldwide”.
The plunging testing charges got here although there may be now extra entry to correct testing than ever earlier than.
“Now we have an unprecedented capacity to know what is occurring,” Rodriguez mentioned.
“And but at this time, as a result of testing has been the primary casualty of a worldwide resolution to let down our guard, we’re changing into blind to what’s taking place with this virus.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has formally brought on greater than 6 million deaths for the reason that virus first surfaced in China in late 2019, however the true toll is believed to be no less than thrice that top.
Whereas many international locations have been eradicating measures and making an attempt to maneuver again to a semblance of normality, the WHO stresses that the pandemic remains to be not over.
“This virus received’t go away simply because international locations cease on the lookout for it,” Tedros mentioned. “It’s nonetheless spreading, it’s nonetheless altering, and it’s nonetheless killing.”
He cautioned that “the specter of a harmful new variant stays very actual”.
“And though deaths are declining, we nonetheless don’t perceive the long-term penalties of an infection in those that survive.”