During a news conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the general public needs to make permanent adjustments to their daily lives to bring the contagion down to more manageable levels.
“At the same time, we will not, we cannot go back to the way things were,” he said.
Tedros later added: “Every person and family has a responsibility to know the level of COVID-19 transmission locally and to understand what they can do to protect themselves and others.”
Russia’s recently approved coronavirus vaccine, called “Sputnik V,” will soon be tested on 40,000 people. That particular vaccine, however, had only undergone rapid phase one and two clinical trials on a limited number of individuals.
Phase three trials are considered by many medical experts to be critical for any vaccine development, as they have the ability to root out any potentially dangerous side effects.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, contended that the public needs to learn “how to live with this virus.”
That will help “continue to suppress transmission, identify cases and clusters that pop up so we can quickly put those out and minimize as many deaths as possible,” she said.
“In doing so, some countries may need to implement some measures again.”
Van Kerkhove has noticed that some countries are now using a data-driven approach to add “interventions that need to be put in place to get outbreaks under control and reduce the number of infections that are happening.”
Since COVID-19 was first discovered in December, there have been more than 22.8 million confirmed cases worldwide, including at least 797,000 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
Amid the rising death toll, Tedros noted that the pandemic has opened the world’s eyes to other urgent issues that need to be addressed.
“In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has given new impetus to the need to accelerate efforts to respond to climate change,” he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a glimpse of our world as it could be—cleaner skies and rivers.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.