COVID-19 may never go away, says WHO

Senior World Health Organisation (WHO) official, Michael J Ryan on Wednesday said the coronavirus may become another just another virus in the world community like HIV infection, and may never go away.

IMAGE: A woman carrying her child arrives from Delhi at Mumbai Central station following the resumption of passenger train services by Indian Railways connecting major cities, during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, in Mumbai, on Thursday. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo

"This virus just may become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away. HIV has not gone away," Dr Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies programme, was quoted as saying by CNN.
"I am not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we are realistic. I do not think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear," Ryan added.
He also said lifting coronavirus restrictions while the case count is still high could lead to the renewed massive transmission of the virus and another possible lockdown.
"If you can get the day-to-day number to the lowest possible level and get as much virus out of the community as possible, then when you open, you will tend to have less transmission or much less risk.
"If you reopen in the presence of a high degree of virus transmission, then that transmission may accelerate," Ryan was quoted as saying by Sputnik.
Over the issue of attacks on ethnic minorities in certain countries over COVID-19, Ryan said that coronavirus is bringing the 'best in us and also some of the worst in us'.
On the issue of vaccine, he added, "We may have a shot at eliminating this virus but that vaccine will have to be available, it will have to be highly effective, it will have to be made available to everyone and we'll have to use it."
According to the WHO, so far, a total of 4,170,424 number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported including 287,399 fatalities.
WHO had declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, and it has been giving daily situation report on the infection since January 21.

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