The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that global COVID-19 deaths have dropped 90 percent since February.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, said at a media briefing that only 9,400 COVID-19 deaths were reported to the organization last week, down from the more than 75,000 deaths reported in February.
“We have come a long way, and this is definitely cause for optimism, but we continue to call on all governments, communities and individuals to remain vigilant,” he said. “Almost 10,000 deaths a week is 10,000 too many, for a disease that can be prevented and treated.”
Tedros said testing rates remain low globally, vaccination gaps are wide and the continued creation of new variants is concerning. He said WHO urges everyone to become fully vaccinated and get their next dose if they are eligible.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have consistently fallen since the end of July before plateauing in recent weeks. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of weekly cases topped 900,000 at the end of July and has hovered around 265,000 since last month.
Deaths from the virus in the country have also dropped dramatically since February, falling from more than 10,000 nine months ago to about 2,500 per week.
Scientists have expressed concerns about another wave of infections coming in the winter as new variants develop. A few subvariants of the omicron variant of the coronavirus have gained prevalence in the past month.
Health experts are urging the public to receive the most recent booster dose specifically designed to address the omicron variant, but less than 10 percent of the adult population has gotten the dose so far.