The Delta variant is spreading through some countries where vaccinations lag, causing a “wave of death,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.
“Variants are currently winning the race against vaccines because of inequitable vaccine production and distribution,” Ghebreyesus said at his biweekly conference in Geneva. “It didn’t have to be this way and it doesn’t have to be this way going forward.”
The number of deaths is approximately the number of people killed in every battle since 1982, according to estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo and more than three times the number of people killed in traffic accidents around the world every year.
Even then, it is widely believed to be an undercount because of overlooked cases or deliberate concealment.
Global death rates are currently less than half of the highest point in January, with more than 18,000 deaths a day before vaccines were readily available.
Still, the variant has also taken hold in countries with higher vaccination rates like the U.K., Israel and the U.S., spreading among the remaining unvaccinated populations.