2021 Year in Review: ‘We underestimate this virus at our peril’

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(United Nations News) Despite the almost miraculous development of effective vaccines against COVID-19 in 2020, the virus continued to spread and mutate throughout the last year, with much of the blame placed on a lack of effective global collaboration as a key reason for the prolonged pandemic. 2021 also saw the launch of a UN-backed programme to help developing countries protect their populations against the virus, and steps were taken to prepare for future global health crises.

The UN could have been forgiven for saying ‘I told you so’ when it became clear in November that a fast-spreading COVID-19 variant, named after the Greek letter Omicron, was a cause for concern, seemingly spreading far more quickly than the dominant Delta variant.

But whilst the fears were understandable, the arrival of Omicron shouldn’t have been a surprise, given the consistent warnings from the UN that new mutations were inevitable, given the failure of the international community to ensure that everyone, not just the citizens of wealthy countries, are vaccinated.

Briefing journalists in mid-December, the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that Omicron was “spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant…Surely we have learned by now, that we underestimate this virus at our peril.”

Read more at: United Nations News

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