Global: Countries must learn to live with the virus, Covid_19 may never go away, says WHO

Geneva: On Wednesday, in the latest health briefing by the World Health Organization, Dr. Mike Ryan, the Emergencies Director, WHO cautioned the world against prediction of time for the virus to disappear completely. Dismissing all ongoing predictions around the world, he warned saying, “The coronavirus may never go away.” 

In the virtual press conference from Geneva, Dr Ryan stated, “It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away. 

Quoting example of other deadly viruses he said, “HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus. He added further saying , “I don’t believe anyone can predict when this disease will disappear”.

Dr. Mike said that currently there were more than 100 potential vaccines in process of  development, but there are other illnesses, such as measles, that still haven’t been eliminated despite vaccines available for them. He further added that even if a vaccine is found, controlling the virus will require a “massive effort”.

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said that we needed to get into the mindset to accept that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic. 

However, WHO Director, General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asserted that it was still possible to control the virus, with effort.

The Director said, “The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business, and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic.” 

At the same time he also warned that there was no guaranteed way of easing restrictions without triggering a second wave of infections.

The WHO head said, “Many countries would like to get out of the lockdown through different measures. But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible.”

On the matter of easing lockdown Dr Ryan added saying, “There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations has said that the pandemic is causing widespread distress and a major negative impact on mental health of the people, particularly in countries where there is a lack of investment in mental healthcare. 

The United Nations requested the governments to consider mental health as a priority and involve it too in their part of overall response to the pandemic.

Their stark remarks come as several countries have begun to ease lockdown measures, even when the cases are on a rise. Globally, nearly 300,000 people have succumbed to the disease while more than 4.3 million people have been diagnosed positive with the virus till now. The latest trends from different countries are scary and indicate a long battle to be fought.

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