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On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a declaration in which he asserted that the COVID-19 pandemic is “a long way from over,” due in part to “confusion and complacency,” and an overall lack of consistent public health measures. 

Nearly 800 million vaccines have been given out across the globe, but Dr. Tedros said mask-wearing and physical distancing are still necessary to turn around the pandemic.

“We too want to see societies and economies reopening, and travel and trade resuming,” he said, according to Reuters. “But right now, intensive care units in many countries are overflowing and people are dying—and it’s totally avoidable.”

The World Health Organization official added, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a long way from over. But we have many reasons for optimism. The decline in cases and deaths during the first two months of the year shows that this virus and its variants can be stopped.”

He also maintained that the virus was continuing to spread on account of “confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures.”

When it comes to how the rest of the world is faring, a second wave has caused India to pass Brazil to become the country with the second most infections, behind only the U.S. At this point, India has given out 105 million doses of the vaccine. The country has a population just under 1.4 billion.

Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, who heads WHO’s COVID-19 team, added to Dr. Tedros’ comments. “We are at a critical point in the pandemic now, the trajectory of this pandemic is growing for the seventh week in a row,” she said. She also noted that last week saw a 9 percent rise in cases, as well as a 5 percent rise in deaths, adding, “If you look at the [epidemic] curve and the trajectory of the pandemic right now, it is growing exponentially”.