Healthcare personnel work in a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) intensive care unit where they are dealing with a surge in cases of the Delta variant at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, U.S., in this handout photo provided July 23, 2021. Courtesy of Intermountain Health/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Circulation of the Delta variant in areas of low vaccination is driving transmission of COVID-19 around the world, World Health Organization officials said on Wednesday.
"Many of the places around the world where Delta is surging -- even in countries that at a national level have high levels of vaccination coverage -- the virus, the Delta variant itself, is really circulating in areas of low level of vaccine coverage and in the context of very limited and inconsistent use of public health and social measures," WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told an online news briefing.
Vaccines are clearly preventing increases in severe illness and death from the Delta variant, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan added.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Michael Shields in Zurich