The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus “may never go away”.
Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, Dr Mike Ryan WHO emergencies director said against trying to forecast when the virus would disappear.
He said that even if there is a vaccine found, supressing the virus will need a “massive effort”.
Approx. 300,000 people globally are reported to have died with the virus, and more than 4.3m cases logged.
The United Nations similarly warned the pandemic was causing wide range mental ill health and distress – mostly in countries where there’s a lack of focus and investment in mental healthcare.
The UN advised governments to make mental health also considerations part of their overall response.
In a virtual press conference from Geneva, Dr Ryan said “It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” “HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus.”
He also added that he doesn’t believe “anyone can predict when this disease will disappear”.
Currently, there are more than 100 potential vaccines in development process – but there are other illnesses, like measles, which haven’t been eliminated even though there being vaccines for them- Dr Ryan said.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-General of WHO stressed it was still possible to control the virus, with effort.
He said “The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business, and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic”.
Maria van Kerkhove WHO epidemiologist also told in the briefing: “We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic.”
The stark remarks come from WHO as several countries instigated to slowly ease lockdown measures, and leaders focus the issue of how to revive their economies.
Dr Tedros cautioned that there was no certain way of easing restrictions without causing a second wave of infections.
The WHO boss added “Many countries would like to get out of the different measures,”. “But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible.”
As a warning Dr Ryan added: “There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers.”