The World Health Organization had issued a warning to world leaders on Wednesday about the need to manage around the coronavirus for the foreseeable future as the level of spread declines in some parts of the world while peaking in others or resurging in some other parts despite initial thoughts to have had the disease under control.
“Make no mistake, we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva.
Many countries were forced to shut off all activities and enforcing social distancing which had in turn slowed the spread of the disease successfully but the WHO is making it clear that the disease is still “extremely dangerous” and according to current data, “most of the world’s population remains susceptible,” he said, meaning outbreaks can easily “reignite.”
“People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end. People understandably want to get on with their lives,” he said. “But the world will not and can not go back to the way things were. There must be a new normal.”
With over 2.5 million people infected worldwide, there have been over 178 thousands of deaths related to the Coronavirus pandemic worldwide according to John Hopkins University. The WHO officials further noted that partisan politics and a lack of global solidarity are one of the reasons for the continuing spread of the pandemic around the world as they urges countries to work together and fight off the pandemic.
WHO said Wednesday officials are seeing a number of countries that appeared to be successful in stopping the virus now reporting a resurgence in cases again. “And that’s because a large proportion of the population does remain susceptible,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters.
Even in the North America and Europe, there are now devastating outbreaks inside long-term care facilities based on observations from public health officials.
“As long as the virus is here, there’s always an opportunity for that to happen,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program. “It is very difficult to reduce that risk to zero. Each country is going to have to look at how we can minimize bringing the disease into such a setting.”
Another thing he made known is there should be a clear communication right between government officials and the general populace especially those who need to understand why they are doing certain actions.
Symptoms of the coronavirus can include a sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea, fever or pneumonia and can progress to multiple organ failure or even death in some cases, according to WHO. The median time from the first sign of symptoms to recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks and between three to six weeks for patients with severe or critical disease, according to the WHO, citing early data from China. It can take up to eight weeks for someone to die from the virus, research shows.
As of last week, the WHO made it known that there is no evidence serological tests can show whether a person has immunity or is no longer at risk of becoming reinfected to the coronavirus once they’re been treated of it once. Kerkhove said WHO officials discovered many countries suggesting these tests would be able to “capture what they think will be a measure of immunity.”