Multiple nations battle COVID-19 surges as Delta variant advances in Israel
As countries in Africa, the Americas, and Europe battle fresh COVID surges, a rise in Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant cases in Israel—known for its strong vaccine rollout and COVID measures—is raising new alarm bells.
World Health Organization (WHO) officials have characterized a “two track” pandemic, made up of higher-income countries driving down cases as vaccination efforts gain tractions, contrasted with others struggling with new or ongoing surges, due to a host of factors, including scarce vaccine, more transmissible variants, and social mixing.
And yesterday, WHO officials warned that a steady global decline is slowing down, with some countries across all regions grappling with surges.
Africa cases, deaths continue to rise
In its weekly health emergencies report, the WHO’s African regional office said today that Africa’s cases last week rose for the sixth week in a row and were up 31% compared to the week before.
A third surge under way in South Africa made up more than 58% of cases, but officials said high case numbers there and in Eritrea, Rwanda, Namibia, Uganda, and Zambia are concerning. They also said health worker infections continue to rise in many countries. Deaths also rose last week.
Factors fueling the rise include poor adherence to distancing measures, cooler weather in southern Africa, and the spread of more transmissible variants, according to the WHO. So far, the Delta (B1617.2) variant has been detected in 14 African countries.