It’s been six months since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, but on Monday it told the world to prepare for the “long haul” ahead.
“The worst is yet to come,” WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on a call with reporters from Geneva. “I’m sorry to say that. But with this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”
WHO officials stressed repeatedly on the call that not all countries were combatting the virus with the same levels of success or vigilance. With more than half of the 10 million coronavirus cases to date and almost half of the 500,000 deaths in the Americas, there’s a lot more that both governments and people in overburdened countries like the US and Brazil could be doing to stop this virus.
“We all want this to be over, we all want to get on with our lives, but the hard reality is this is not even close to being over,” Tedros said. “Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.”
Without naming any names, Tedros chided countries for not doing more to stop the spread of the virus as economies reopen.
The virus’ spread “could have been prevented through the tools that we have at hand,” Tedros said. “Time after time and country after country, what we have seen is this virus can be suppressed if the governments are serious about the things they have to do — their share — and if the community can do its share.”