An official at the World Health Organization (WHO), which has been monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic since it started in China, said that the global COVID-19 death toll could double to two million before the world gets access to a successful vaccine and added that the number could be higher without concerted action to control the health crisis.
Mike Ryan, who is the head of the UN agency's emergency program said during a briefing on Friday, September 25, "Unless we do it all, (two million deaths)... is not only imaginable but, sadly, very likely. We are not out of the woods anywhere, we are not out of the woods in Africa."
During the briefing, he also said that young people should not be blamed for the recent spike in Coronavirus cases, despite the concerns that they were spreading the infection after lockdowns and restrictions were eased around the world. According to him, the indoor gatherings of all ages were responsible for driving the epidemic. As of now, the world recorded over 32 million Coronavirus cases and almost one million deaths due to COVID-19.
WHO and China
Even though there are several conspiracies about the WHO's role to cover-up China's so-called wrongdoing in terms of the Coronavirus outbreak, the UN agency is still continuing with Xi Jinping's government about its possible involvement in the COVAX scheme, which is designed to guarantee rapid access globally to effective COVID -19 vaccines.
Bruce Aylward, WHO senior adviser and head of the ACT-Accelerator program said that the agency is in discussions with China regarding the role the organization may play in the future. He also confirmed that meanwhile Taiwan, which is not a WHO member, had agreed to the scheme.
However, as reported, the Geneva-based agency supported China's campaign to vaccinate some people in July, even though at that time clinical trials were still going on, said Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official. But some experts have expressed concerns about the move made by the global health agency. At that time hundreds of thousands of essential workers and a few more people who were thought to be under the high risk of getting infected by SARS-CoV-2 had been given the vaccine. But since the efficacy and the safety was yet to be proven, some experts believe that this move was concerning.
During a news conference in Geneva, on Friday, Dr. Mariangela Simão, assistant director-general at the WHO, explained that countries have the power to issue emergency use authorization (EUA) for any health product, according to the national regulations and legislations. Earlier, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that EUA for the COVID-19 vaccine is a "temporary solution."
Reports also said that at least three unapproved potential vaccine candidates, including two developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Sinovac, are included in the EUA program, even though all of them are in phase 3 trials.