During a media briefing held on July 13, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that if countries continue on the path they are on and do not follow strict health precautions, the pandemic is only going to worsen.
The virtual briefing was held at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Geneva and led by WHO Director, Dr Tedros Adhanom Gheyreyesus. He said, “Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one.”
“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go – it is going to get worse and worse and worse,” he added.
The number of positive cases is still on the rise, with the current count listed as 13,240,427 as of July 14, 2020, at 4;34 GMT, and the death toll over 575,000 people.
A report in CNA also talks about how US President Trump has continued to criticise the leadership of Dr Tedros, meanwhile, the United States is one of the biggest contributors to the rise of new cases around the world, followed closely by Brazil.
With the US close to 3.5 million cases as of today, with a staggering 65,488 cases added in a single day, Brazil is next in line with over 1.8 million cases in total, and India almost at a million and rising, the world is reeling from what most believe is still the first wave of cases.
Dr Michael Ryan, who is the WHO Emergencies Head and one of the Executive Directors, stresses that particular areas in the Americas may require “limited or geographically focused lockdowns that suppress transmission in specific areas where transmission is frankly out of control.”
A reporter also asked about children and how they seemed to be less affected by the virus. But a report in Australia has shown that transmissions from children are “more apparent” than they originally thought, and because of that, they want to know WHOs stand on school openings.
While Dr Maria Van Kerkhove explained that “we need to break down what ‘children’ mean,” what they are seeing is that kids 10 and above are more likely to get infected, much like adults, but they usually show “mild symptoms.” She also explains that WHO has issued guidelines about schools reopening, but that their research about kids is still “limited.”
Dr Ryan also went on to say that while some countries have been successful at suppressing the virus and have been able to slowly open up their economy, schools included, “We have got to focus on a comprehensive long-term strategy which focuses on everything at one time.”
He then added, “We cannot turn schools into political football in this game. It’s not fair to our children.”
Meanwhile in the United States, many blame the Trump administration and its lack of leadership when it comes to making public mask-wearing a mandate, which has caused the swift rise in infections.
Although many feel like there is no end in sight when it comes to the ongoing pandemic, Dr Ryan reiterates what Dr Tedros said, “there is no situation that cannot be faced. And I think this is the issue, to turn and face the fire. Turn and face the problem.”
He added, “And accept that it will take time. It will require a huge commitment on the part of government and in individuals in a number of countries to turn this around.”
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