(AP) The World Health Organization chief on Wednesday said a nearly 90% drop in recent COVID-19 deaths globally compared to nine months ago provides “cause for optimism,” but still urged vigilance against the pandemic as variants continue to crop up.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that during the first week of November, just over 9,400 deaths linked to the coronavirus were reported to the WHO. In February of this year, he said, weekly deaths had topped 75,000 globally.

“We have come a long way, and this is definitely cause for optimism. But we continue to call on all governments, communities and individuals to remain vigilant,” he said at a virtual news conference from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

“Almost 10,000 deaths a week is 10,000 too many for a disease that can be prevented and treated.”

So far this year in Texas, there have been 14,370 deaths reported to the Department of State Health Services. The most deaths reported in one day during the summer peak was 39 fatalities on July 28, 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.