The World Health Organization warned Thursday that the surging COVID-19 pandemic in many parts of the world increases the likelihood that new, potentially dangerous variants may emerge in the future.
“The pandemic is nowhere near finished,” said Professor Didier Houssin, chair of the WHO Emergency COVID-19 Committee.
The global surge in new cases has highlighted the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. In Africa, cases surpassed their second wave peak during the seven days ending on July 4 and the death toll this week climbed by 40%, according to WHO.
At the start of the pandemic, there was only one variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As the virus spread across the globe, it mutated, sprouting thousands of new versions of itself — some of which were more contagious than the original.
Currently, there are four variants of concern, labeled by the WHO using the Greek alphabet. The most recent, the delta variant, which was first detected in India, has been identified in more than 111 countries and is now responsible for nearly 60% of all cases in the U.S.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Dr. Chidimma J. Acholonu