The World Health Organization (WHO) says there are 50,000 Covid-19 deaths a week, adding that coronavirus is “not going away.”
“That is not where we want to be,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergency program regarding the number of Covid-19 deaths. “It’s not where the Northern Hemisphere wants to be going into the winter season. It’s not where developing countries want to be with their health services under nine months of pressure.”
Ryan told a news conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters that the coronavirus has a “long way to burn” as the number of Covid-19 deaths continue to rise. WHO mentions “worrying trends” in the number of coronavirus cases, ICU admissions, and hospitalizations in the Northern Hemisphere as the colder seasons unfold.
“It has not burned out, it is not burning out, it is not going away,” Ryan said, “and especially for those countries entering their winter season in terms of people coming together more indoors. There’s a lot of work to do in order to avoid amplification events, drive down transmission of this epidemic, protect the opening of schools, and protect the most vulnerable in our society from severe disease and death.”
European health authorities previously cautioned about an increasing number of coronavirus cases.
According to Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, over half of the European countries have recorded a 10% or greater rise in coronavirus cases in the past two. Out of these cases, seven have observed new infections increase more than twofold.
The Johns Hopkins University data revealed that there is an average of about 39,000 new Covid-19 cases per day in the US.
CNBC analysts said that coronavirus cases were increasing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to flatten daily reporting, in 34 states as well as Washington, D.C., as of Friday.
“The energy has not gone out of this pandemic. There’s a lot of energy left in this spring and this can drive the pandemic forward,” Ryan noted.
Meanwhile, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said daily new infections were “unacceptably high” in the US this close to the fall.
“Once you get the level of infection down really, really low, it almost self-propagates itself to stay low, but you’ve got to get it low,” Dr. Fauci said on The Wall Street Journal’s “The Journal” podcast published last Thursday.
“Once it’s way up there it’s tough to get it down,” he said. Dr. Fauci added that the US figures could be “hundreds of cases, thousands, but not 20, 30, 40 thousand cases a day.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the Covid-19 pandemic, said that global health officials have “literally hundreds” of seroepidemiology studies examining the intensity of Covid-19 infection in various populations. The studies suggest that “a majority of the world’s population is susceptible to infection from this virus,” she noted.
“That means the virus has a long way to go,” she added.
Moreover, Van Kerkhove stressed how “absolutely critical” it is for countries to prepare for outbreaks. In her interview with CNN’s “New Day” last Friday, she considers the increase in hospitalizations in some European countries, like the France and UK, as “worrying trends” because the Northern Hemisphere has not “even started to hit the flu season yet,” which may cause further suffering to the health system.
“What’s really important right now is for countries in their response is that they break down the problem, they break down the outbreak into the lowest administrative level as possible as the data will allow,” she said. “It’s not just about case numbers. These are incredibly important, and we need to be able to track these trends but we also need to look at hospitalizations, we need to look at ICU occupancy and how many people are being admitted into intensive care.”