The Coronavirus Pandemic Is "Speeding Up," WHO Says

Though cases are falling in some areas, the virus is still going strong globally.

While COVID-19 has barely touched some parts of the world and ravaged others, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the press on Monday that, overall, the coronavirus pandemic "is not even close to being over." During a virtual news conference, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said, "Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up," according to reporting by CNBC. These comments were given along with a warning to stay vigilant and keep up with measures that are proven to work.

According to data collected by The New York Times, the number of global cases of coronavirus is higher than 10.1 million, while over 502,000 people have died due to the disease. Per WHO's data, more than 23 percent of new cases reported on Sunday, the day before the press conference, were reported by the U.S., which is in various stages of reopening.

"Some countries have now experienced a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies," Tedros explained. "Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move."

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Tedros seemed to address fatigue, both in individuals and in governments, and said that the movement of the virus is also the result of a "lack of global solidarity." "Six months since the virus started, it could be like a broken record to say exactly the same thing, but the same thing works," he added. "Test, test, isolate, quarantine cases."

Tedros pointed to countries that have effectively flattened the curve as examples the rest of the world should follow. South Korea slowed the spread through aggressive testing and contact tracing, even through non-traditional methods like reviewing credit card statements. "South Korea has shown to the world that without even vaccines or therapeutics that it can take the number of cases down and suppress the outbreak," the WHO chief reasoned. And Japan has an older population, yet a low death rate, proving how following lockdown orders and wearing masks helps protect high-risk groups.

But those success stories are few and far between. With the virus still tearing across continents, Tedros issued a plea to the world to "fight this dangerous virus together," as WHO "[fears] the worst" moving forward.

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