"We can and must turn it around," the WHO director-general said.
The world just set a record for new COVID-19 cases over the last week, the WHO reports, although the number of deaths declined.
The World Health Organization said there was a 71% spike in COVID-19 cases from the previous seven-day period as the Omicron variant continues to spread around the globe.
Countries reported 9.5 million new cases last week, the WHO said.
“Last week, the highest number of COVID-19 cases were reported so far in the pandemic,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his opening remarks at a media briefing.
He added that the reported number is actually an underestimate and that the actual number may be higher due to a backlog in tests around the holiday season.
The good news is that, although cases are reaching all-time highs, the number of deaths has actually decreased, reported ABC News.
Tedros still warned that “the tsunami of cases is so huge and quick, that it is overwhelming health systems around the world.”
He once again stressed that the global vaccination rate must reach 70% by mid-2022 to "end the acute stage of the pandemic."
In his remarks, Tedros also repeated the importance of keeping up public health measures like wearing proper masks, avoiding crowds and socially distancing.
Most importantly, he talked about ending the inequity of vaccine distribution, pointing out that many countries are not on track to hit a target of fully vaccinating 70% of their populations by mid-2022.
“Booster after booster in a small number of countries will not end a pandemic while billions remain completely unprotected,” he said.
Tedros pointed out that there are still countries that haven’t even managed to vaccinate those who need it most, like health workers. Meanwhile, wealthier countries are moving on to handing out third and even fourth doses.
He ended his remarks with the reminder that “we need health for peace and peace for health.”