COVID-19 is likely ‘here to stay’, WHO says


Officials from the World Health Organization asserted that the COVID-19 situation ‘could have been very different’ if only the world had taken early steps.

Experts previously said that vaccination is likely the key to stopping the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the hopes of doing so are now diminishing as the fight remains apparent.

Many health officials have warned that the world will have to live with the novel coronavirus “forever,” like influenza. Recent reports noted that these individuals include White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel.

Similar assertions have also been heard from World Health Organization officials on Tuesday. CNBC reported that the remarks came from a live “Q&A” with Dr. Mike Ryan and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.

Diminishing hopes of eliminating or eradicating COVID-19

During the engagement, the two WHO officials provided updates and insight on the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Emergencies Program Director Dr. Mike Ryan stated that it has now become “very unlikely” to eliminate or eradicate the virus.

He explained that it is “here to stay” with the world because of the mutations occurring in unvaccinated countries across the globe. He also noted that the virus will “evolve like influenza pandemic viruses,” adding that it will become “one of the other viruses that affects” everyone.

The agency’s technical lead on COVID-19, consequently, asserted that the world “had a chance” in the early stage of the pandemic. It “did not need to be this bad.”

“Worrying” situation of global cases, deaths

On the same platform, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove shared the latest data on COVID-19 cases and deaths around the world. Although the overall caseload and death toll have “plateaued,” the numbers are “underestimates,” she said, according to United Nations News.

The WHO official also deemed the cumulative cases and deaths as “quite a worrying situation.” She explained that this should not be the numbers, considering that there are already tools existing for prevention.

She, later on, stressed that the World Health Organization is seeing significant circulations among the eligible unvaccinated population. Nevertheless, she emphasized some of the positive developments amid the pandemic crisis. This includes a reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated individuals.

Delta variant remains “most concerning”

The public health officials talked about the variants, as well. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove stated that the Delta strain remains to be the “most concerning” among all due to its increased transmissibility.

Dr. Mike Ryan had similar statements about the highly infectious strain. He said that the Delta “tends to outcompete other variants.”

Overall, the WHO officials claimed that the Delta variant continues to evolve as the pandemic persists. But, scientists are studying and monitoring the changes, alongside the other emerging COVID-19 variants.

Images courtesy of World Health Organization (WHO)/YouTube

Mike Pantoja-Contreras

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Mike Pantoja-Contreras

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