Video of the media conference held on 29 December 2021. Source- WHO/YouTube
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his remarks on 29 December 2021 marking the two years of the pandemic said fighting it requires science, solutions, and solidarity. He also emphasized a global collective response to the pandemic now surging with the Omicron variant in many countries. He disclosed 92 WHO Member States, out of 194, missed the 40% vaccination target. While there were 1.8 million recorded deaths in 2020, there were 3.5 million in 2021 and we know the actual number is much higher, he said.
“Populism, narrow nationalism, and hoarding of health tools, including masks, therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines, by a small number of countries undermined equity and created the ideal conditions for the emergence of new variants.
Misinformation and disinformation, often spread by a small number of people, have been a constant distraction, undermining science and trust in lifesaving health tools.
In the huge waves of cases currently seen in Europe and in many countries around the world, misinformation which has driven vaccine hesitancy is now translating to the unvaccinated disproportionally dying.
It is vitally important that the established Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens can develop a pathway for the scientific research of pathogens, including for the origins of SARS-CoV-2. And we hope to see progress quickly in the New Year, he said.
He added: “I also want to ensure COVID-19 care pathways with new treatments are available in every single country. And to ensure people get on treatment at the optimum time, we need to get tests everywhere.
Ending health inequity remains the key to ending the pandemic.”