In the past two months, there have been tremendous increases in new coronavirus cases in all countries around the world with nearly fifty percent of the new cases being from just two countries. The director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus has now called COVID-19 the ‘worst health pandemic’.
According to Dr. Tedros, the worsening conditions of the ongoing health crisis are likely to change the world and the normal way of living forever.
During the recently held press conference, he added that the pandemic has specifically highlighted how human behavior can impact public health and cause both negative and positive consequences.
It has been around six months since the WHO first deemed the virus a public health emergency. During the declaration, the total number of global cases had crossed two million.
Now, the number of confirmed infections around the world has crossed sixteen million and the death toll has risen significantly as well. Nearly five million of all cases are from the US alone.
In addition, Brazil has also reported further increases in both new infections and coronavirus deaths due to a lack of appropriate responses to the pandemic in the country which is the primary reason why it has the second-highest coronavirus cases after the US.
According to Dr. Tedros, the situation at the moment is comparatively much more different than previous epidemics.
“This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations, but it is easily the most severe,” He said.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the medical community compared it to the influenza virus and the vast majority of the people expected the virus to vanish with the passing time and the end of the colder season.
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However, the coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 was noted to be entirely different almost in a few weeks when the virus spread around the globe very quickly due to its highly contagious nature.
Not only did the infection spread much easily but was more difficult to control, manage, and treat in comparison with previous viral infections, which is primarily why it is now called the worst health pandemic.
Scientists are also stating that the virus will also be much more challenging to deal with in case it becomes an endemic like H1N1 or influenza virus. This is because the vaccines against the virus are not likely to work and be effective for a longer period of time.
Vaccinations for SARS-CoV-2 will have to be recreated since the virus mutates at a much faster rate. Prior to COVID-19, other coronaviruses have also caused health epidemics.
For instance, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS-CoV-1 and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome or MERS both belong to the family of coronaviruses and have caused outbreaks.
Although the outbreaks were successfully contained, no vaccine exists for either of the infections to this day.
A vaccine, even if it is not effective forever, is required to stop the current coronavirus crisis. However, Dr. Tedros says that while it may be the worst health pandemic, it can be controlled simply by following preventive measures.
In fact, a vaccine will likely not work if steps including wearing a mask in public and practicing social distancing are not followed. This is why countries or areas with strict policies are currently the only ones not setting record highs every other day.