Although nowhere close to India’s population or flare-up in scope, the reported spikes in these handful of nations have been far steeper, signaling the potential dangers of an uncontrolled spread. The resurgence — and first-time outbreaks in some places that largely avoided the scourge last year — heightens the urgency of delivering vaccine supplies to poorer, less influential countries and averting a protracted pandemic.
“It’s very important to realize that the situation in India can happen anywhere,” said Hans Kluge, the regional director at the World Health Organization for Europe, during a briefing last week. “This is still a huge challenge.”
Ranked by the change in newly recorded infections in the past month over the previous month, Laos came first with a 22,000% increase, followed by Nepal and Thailand, both of which saw fresh caseload skyrocketing more than 1,000% on a month-over-month basis.
Also on top of the list are Bhutan, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Cambodia and Fiji, as they witnessed the epidemic erupt at a high triple-digit pace.
“All countries are at risk,” said David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “The disease appears to be becoming endemic and will therefore likely remain a risk to all countries for the foreseeable future.”
Read it all.