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The head of the World Health Organization warned Monday that despite months of governments battling the coronavirus pandemic, “the worst is yet to come.”
During a virtual news conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world — and our lives — would be thrown into turmoil by this new 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.
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he continued. “We’re all in this for the long haul.”
Tedros went on to encourage unity as the pandemic continues to drag on, urging, “We will need even greater stores of resiliency, patience, humility and generosity in the months ahead. We have already lost so much — but we cannot lose hope.”
The WHO chief added, “The worst is yet to come. I’m sorry to say that.”
CBS News reported that Tedros’ remarks come as the WHO marks six months since the organization was made aware of COVID-19, and “just as the death toll surpassed 500,000 and the number of confirmed infections topped 10 million” globally. The U.S. has had more than 2,500,000 confirmed cases along with over 126,000 deaths.
Tedros also dismissed claims that the WHO’s recommendation for countries to conduct contract tracing is impossible to carry out.
According to the Associated Press, “in recent months, countries with large outbreaks of COVID-19, including Britain and the U.S., have said there are simply too many contacts to trace for an effective system to be put in place.”
“If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse,” the WHO chief said.
Global Health Strategies reported that Tedros pointed “out that many public health professionals have risked their lives to do contact tracing in active conflict zones, including @DrMikeRyan when fighting #Ebola in [the Democratic Republic of the Congo].”