Covid-19 is proving difficult to stop as global cases hit 20 million-WHO
London, August 11, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed that the novel Coronavirus is proving exceptionally difficult to stop, as the number of cases crosses 20 million
Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, speaking during a news conference in Geneva on Monday, said in order to completely stop the virus it is important to identify where the human-animal barrier was breached.
“This virus is proving exceptionally difficult to stop,” Ryan said, saying that it was important to reflect on what is known about the virus, in terms of the ease of spread, the multiple transmission modes and the existence of asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission.
“This is not an easy virus and not an easy virus, either, to detect. It’s not an easy virus to stop,” he said.
Global coronavirus cases pushed past 20 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, with the United States, Brazil and India accounting for more than half of all known infections.
The respiratory disease has infected at least four times the average number of people struck down with severe influenza illnesses annually, according to the World Health Organization.
The death toll from COVID-19, meanwhile, at more than 728,000 has outpaced the upper range of annual deaths from the flu.
The Reuters tally, which is based on government reports, shows the disease is accelerating. It took almost six months to reach 10 million cases after the first infection was reported in Wuhan, China, in early January. It took just 43 days to double that tally to 20 million.
Two essential elements to address the #COVID19 pandemic effectively:— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) August 10, 2020
1. Leaders must step up to take action
2. Citizens need to embrace key measures
If we suppress the virus effectively, we can safely open up societies. pic.twitter.com/paBqikijzn
Experts believe the official data likely undercounts both infections and deaths, particularly in countries with limited testing capacity.
The United States is responsible for around 5 million cases, Brazil 3 million and India 2 million. Russia and South Africa round out the top ten.
Ryan explained that an epidemiologic investigation will start in Wuhan, China because that’s where the first clusters of cases were picked up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is where Case Zero (the very first case) was.
According to the WHO Director, finding ‘Case Zero’ helps to distinguish this crossing of the barrier between species.
“If you follow the data and the science, you will find, hopefully, the point at which the disease crossed the species barrier,” he said.
“It is important that we find that because as long as the animal-human breach has not been discovered, there’s always a chance that that barrier can be breached again,” he said.
Although finding this breach is important, it can take some time, according to Ryan, as the barrier breach for SARS was never fully established.
“The world is at greater risk for these species breaches, Ryan said.
“We are pressuring the biologic system. We live in a biome. We live in a world of biology. And we are creating – actively creating – the pressures that are driving the breaches of those barriers,”
“And we need to do better at managing the risks associated with that,” he said