Grim Prediction: WHO Says Second Year Of Pandemic Could Be Tougher Than First
Geneva: The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic could turn out be tougher than the first, the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted.
“We are going into a second year of this, it could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” top emergencies official Mike Ryan of WHO said during an event on social media.
WHO said after two weeks of fewer cases being reported, about five million new cases were reported last week, Reuters reported.
“Certainly in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America we have seen that sort of perfect storm of the season – coldness, people going inside, increased social mixing and a combination of factors that have driven increased transmission in many, many countries,” Ryan said.
WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove, warned: “After the holidays, in some countries the situation will get a lot worse before it gets better.”
New variants of coronavirus, some of them more contagious in nature, were detected in Britain and a few other countries. Those strains are spreading across the globe, resulting in several European countries announcing tighter and longer restrictions.
“I worry that we will remain in this pattern of peak and trough and peak and trough, and we can do better,” Van Kerkhove said.
“Physical distancing must be maintained… the further, the better. Make sure you keep that distance from people outside your immediate household,” she added.
About 91.5 million people have been infected with the deadly virus thus far, while the death toll worldwide is close to 2 million.