COVID-19 outbreak is just starting — WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may only just be starting.

Commuters wearing protective masks ride the L subway line during rush hour in the Williamsburg neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, US, on Monday, June 8, 2020.

Head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “The virus is actually starting and will wreak more havoc”, according to a Bloomberg report.

The global health body’s head of health emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, said, most countries are in the middle of the first wave, with the risk of a second wave present for any country exiting lockdown.

Ryan said there’s no guarantee a vaccine will arrive in time to stave off a second wave. (Photo: Nicolas Asfouri /AFP)

Further, Ryan said he’s concerned by the “upswing” in the Southern Hemisphere, and Tedros said the pandemic is accelerating in low- and middle-income countries. It’s most active in the Americas, and governments need to give clear and consistent messaging about it, Tedros said. Ryan said there’s no guarantee any vaccine will arrive in time.

“We have never seen something like this since 1918,” Tedros said, adding that Europe could see a resurgence of cases even as numbers have been dropping recently. “No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

The coronavirus has infected 7.6 million people worldwide and killed more than 420 thousand.