Covid-19 a “once-in-a-century health crisis” with effects to last decades: WHO

Mumbai | Updated on August 01, 2020 Published on August 01, 2020

The effect of the pandemic will last for decades, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday.

"The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come, "Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO told a meeting of the WHO's emergency committee as quoted by an Al Jazeera report.

The WHO chief earlier this week had said that the pandemic is by far the most severe health crisis that the world has seen.

“This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations, but it is easily the most severe,” the WHO Director-General had said at a media briefing earlier this week.

The number of fatalities from the pandemic has surpassed 670,000 and over 17 million cases have been diagnosed so far. However, the top three countries account for over half these cases. This could mean that the pandemic can still be controlled.

“More than 16.5 million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 650,000 deaths. Critically, half of all cases globally are in the top three countries, and half of all deaths are in the top four countries,” Ghebreyesus had said.

“So although we are dealing with a global pandemic, not all countries are experiencing large, uncontrolled outbreaks. While facing an unprecedented global challenge, we should also have cause for hope,” he said.

So far, over 5500 patients in more than 20 countries have joined WHO’s Solidarity trial, its initiative for identifying effective drugs for Covid-19.

“WHO has also established “Solidarity Two”, global collaboration for serological surveys of the virus that causes COVID-19,” he said.

However, early serosurveys have found that a majority of the population is still susceptible to the virus. Countries must take all necessary precautionary measures accordingly.

"Early results from serology (antibody) studies are painting a consistent picture: most of the world's people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks," he said as quoted by Al Jazeera.

Vaccines will play an important role to help control the pandemic.

In less than 8 months into the pandemic, over 200 vaccine candidates are in development and over 20 vaccine candidates are in different phases of human trials, he said.

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Published on August 01, 2020
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