WHO: Coronavirus pandemic is “speeding up” as countries reopen

WHO: Coronavirus pandemic is "speeding up" as countries reopen
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The World Health Organization or WHO says that the coronavirus pandemic is “speeding up” as countries reopen their economies.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, pointed out that many countries are experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

“Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he said during an online news conference from the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. “We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives, but the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over.”

The coronavirus pandemic recorded over 10.1 million infections worldwide and led to 502,000 deaths so far, based on the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, WHO data shows that more than 60% of daily new coronavirus cases came from countries in the Americas.

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The global institution added that more than 23% of the 189,077 new cases reported worldwide on Sunday came from the US, and Brazil was the only country in the world to report more new cases on Sunday than the US.

“Some countries have now experienced a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies,” Tedros said. “Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move.”

Tedros recommends broad coronavirus testing, studying infections, detecting individuals who might have been exposed to the virus, isolating infected ones, and improving treatment for patients.

“The single most important intervention for breaking chains of transmission is not necessarily high-tech and can be carried out by a broad range of profession. It’s tracing and quarantine contacts,” he said. “Six months since the virus started, it could be like a broken record to say exactly the same thing, but the same thing works. Test, test, isolate, quarantine cases.”

Tedros mentioned the steroid dexamethasone as an example of how clinicians have realized to give better care for Covid-19 patients and save lives. According to a study from Oxford University, the steroid can reduce the risk of death by a third for Covid-19 patients on ventilators and by a fifth for those on supplemental oxygen.

He commends Japan for having been able to preserve life and protect the most vulnerable members of society, Tedros said. Japan was able to have one of the lowest Covid-19 death rates. Hopkins’ data reported that the virus has infected more than 18,476 people in Japan and killed at least 972 individuals.

South Korea’s response to the outbreak was also praised by Tedros. “South Korea has shown to the world that without even vaccines or therapeutics that it can take the number of cases down and suppress the outbreak,” he added.

Tedros suggests that South Korea’s strategy must be replicated by some governments for testing, contact tracing, and isolating infected people. He noted that governments must allow the community to take part in improving efforts for tracing, testing, and isolating.

Tedros said expressed concern about the impact of “lack of global solidarity” on the global response. He added that countries must united to learn from one another’s experiences in fighting the virus.

“The worst is yet to come” as many nations and world leaders remain divided on how to combat the virus, Tedros said. “I’m sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst. And that’s why we have to bring our acts together and fight this dangerous virus together.”

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