As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, people are beginning to feel impatient for the vaccine to be available, while hoping that life would return to normalcy as soon as possible.
During the press conference hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva yesterday (13 May), the agency revealed that the coronavirus “may never go away”, implying that it is here to stay in our communities.
Seeing how various countries have begun to ease the lockdown restrictions that were meant to curb the spread of the deadly virus, the WHO warned that it would not be able for the virus to be wiped out entirely.
“This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.”
The WHO’s emergencies director, Michael Ryan, expressed that it would be difficult to predict when exactly the virus would be overcome because this is the first time it has surfaced in the human population.
“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it.”
Not only that, but the director also compared COVID-19 to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) – which was discovered back in 1983 – noting that the latter “has not gone away” to date. He went on to say that the human population had somehow come to terms with HIV, adding that humans are expected to do the same for the new coronavirus.
While many people were hopeful that easing lockdown restrictions would hint “the end” of the crisis, the WHO warned that this move offers no guarantees that there wouldn’t be a second wave of infection or a “vicious cycle”, as reported by CNA.
The agency has witnessed various countries attempting to exit lockdowns to open the economy; therefore, they advised that “extreme caution” is needed.
“Many countries would like to get out of the different measures. But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of the WHO.
Apart from revealing that the battle against COVID-19 is a “long, long way to go” in order to allow the world to return to what people knew as normal, Mr Ryan spoke against the mindset of how imposing and lifting lockdowns would work perfectly.
“There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers.”
In regards to the vaccine for COVID-19, the WHO stated that controlling the virus would still require a “massive effort” even if the vaccine is found.