Even as the NCR and parts of the Philippines revert to ECQ in order to preempt another surge, much of the world is already in emergency mode largely driven by the Delta variant of COVID-19. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned in the middle of July that “Unfortunately . . . we are now in the early stages of a third wave.” The variant is now in over 130 countries, cases are rising in a third of the world’s nations, and it is becoming the dominant strain globally.
Worldwide total COVID cases passed the 200 million mark last week. This means that 2.5% of the global population has acquired the virus. It took more than a year to hit 100 million but only 6 months to reach the next 100 million. Business Day reported that if the total number of individuals that have been infected so far were a nation, it would be the world’s 8th largest. The actual number is believed to be higher because testing in many countries is limited.
While Southeast Asia comprises only 8% of the world’s population, it is responsible for 15% of global daily new cases. Indonesia accounts for 20% of the total daily global deaths causing some to refer to it as the new epicenter of the global pandemic. Malaysia is seeing record numbers of new daily cases with 18,000 per day, with 70% of those cases attributed to the Delta variant. Thailand is suffering with its hospitals overwhelmed and 80% of the cases in Bangkok linked to Delta. At the time of this writing, the Delta variant accounts for only 1.5% of new cases in the Philippines. Even nations that were celebrated last year for effectively containing the pandemic are now struggling with surges and lockdowns, such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
The situation in Africa is tragic, creating a lot of panic in many communities with death rates rising exponentially. WHO described the surge in the region as a “destructive pathway.” In one month, alone, the continent accounted for 1 million new cases. Their vaccination rate is at less than 3%.
In the US, new cases hit a 6-month high, with the White House reporting nearly 97% of severe cases being among the unvaccinated. These findings are driving a number of states and corporations to consider mandatory vaccination for its workers. CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a warning that “things are going to get worse.”
Nearly half of Australia is under lockdown with Sydney going on 7 weeks and deploying the army to help keep people at home. Newcastle, a city of over 600,000 people, was recently added to affected areas when tourists from Sydney violated the lockdown and partied in one of Newcastle’s beaches spreading the Delta variant.
The UK presents a glimmer of hope as cases boomed until mid-July and then suddenly dipped. Many credit this to the fact that the UK has one of the most successful vaccination campaigns, with 73% of its population fully vaccinated and another 15% having already received one dose. This has allowed it to reopen its economy and allow people to gather in large events.
The Delta variant, referred to by WHO as “dangerous and the most transmissible SARS-CoV-2 virus to date” is changing the way we understand the coronavirus. Studies on booster shots are ongoing, the duration of the pandemic is being reconsidered, nations like France are considering mandatory vaccination, vaccine passports are becoming common, and the “new normal” is more and more being redefined to mean not as the end of the pandemic but as learning to live with viral outbreaks.
In Mark 11:17, Jesus declared “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” Even as we stand in the gap for our own nation during this time of crisis, we must never forget our calling as God’s people to intercede for all the peoples of the world. Let us cry out to God for healing and deliverance.
- Let us look to the same God who protected Israel in the midst of plagues and sickness to deliver the world from this modern plague of COVID-19. Ask God to stop this surge and to defeat all other future variants from developing.
- Intercede for world leaders and medical agencies to have the wisdom, courage, discernment, and to be willing to cooperate to help bring the pandemic to an end at the soonest possible time. Pray for transparency, openness, and honesty as they develop and implement lockdowns, vaccines, medicines, and alternative approaches and options.
- Continue to war against the spirit of division and anger that is riding the back of this global crisis, which tears relationships and parties apart. Pray for a spirit of unity, love, and respect to prevail among all people as we face a common enemy.
- Pray for the global vaccination program to progress speedily, especially in poorer nations. Pray for the swift, equitable, and strategic global distribution of the vaccines as well as the safe, organized, and efficient vaccination programs among nations.
To learn more about the COVID situation worldwide, you can check the news and resources in the links below.
- Business Day article on the global surge due to the Delta variant
- United Nations article warning about the Delta variant
- United Nations article about the third wave of the coronavirus worldwide
- BBC article about the rising COVID cases in Asian countries
- CBS article about new mandates in the US in light of the Delta variant
- NBC news article about the COVID situation in the UK and US