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WHO: Testing cuts leave world ‘increasingly blind’ to COVID-19 spread

HEALTHDIGEST– A dramatic drop in testing for Covid-19 has left the world blind to the virus’s continuing rampage and its potentially dangerous mutations, the World Health Organisation warned Tuesday.

The UN health agency said that reported Covid cases and deaths had been dropping dramatically.

“Last week, just over 15 thousand deaths were reported to WHO – the lowest weekly total since March 2020,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

While this is “a very welcome trend,” he warned that the declining numbers could also be a result of significant cuts in testing for the virus.

“This makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and evolution.

When it comes to a deadly virus, ignorance is not bliss.” Tedros said.

William Rodriguez, who heads the global diagnostics alliance FIND, also decried that many governments in recent months simply stopped looking for COVID-19 cases.

Speaking at the press conference hosted by WHO, he pointed out that in the past four months, amid surging COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant, “testing rates have plummeted by 70 to 90 percent worldwide.”

The plunging testing rates came despite the fact that there is now more access to accurate testing than ever before.

“We have an unprecedented ability to know what is happening,” Rodriguez pointed out. And yet today because testing has been the first casualty of a global decision to let down our guard, we’re becoming blind to what is happening with this virus.”