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The World Health Organization is holding a press briefing Monday on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 31 million people worldwide and killed at least 961,200 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The briefing follows Friday’s deadline for countries to enter into the WHO-backed Covid-19 vaccine global access facility, or COVAX, which aims to work with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries with “equitable access to safe and effective vaccines” and protect the most vulnerable populations, such as older people and health-care workers.
The WHO has previously said more than 170 countries have joined its global plan prior to the deadline, “gaining guaranteed access to the world’s largest portfolio of vaccine candidates.” Some countries that have secured their own supplies, including the United States, have said they will not join COVAX.
On Friday, WHO officials warned that the coronavirus is still killing about 50,000 people a week globally with a “long way to burn.” The Northern Hemisphere will soon be entering influenza season, threatening to stress already burdened health systems.
“The energy has not gone out of this pandemic. There’s a lot of energy left in this spring and this can drive the pandemic forward,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said on Friday.