[imagesource: Reuters / Denis Balibouse]
Just to clarify, that’s the World Health Organisation, not the band responsible for such classics as ‘My Generation’ and ‘Baba O’Riley’.
Given their flip flop on the efficacy of wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19, the WHO’s credibility has taken a decent knock these past few months.
Then again, changing your position on something as more evidence emerges isn’t a bad thing, so let’s see what the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had to say recently in Geneva, Switzerland.
Reporting below via the BBC:
…he hopes the coronavirus pandemic will be over in under two years… [and] said the Spanish flu of 1918 had taken two years to overcome.
But he added that current advances in technology could enable the world to halt the virus “in a shorter time”.
“Of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading,” he said.
“But at the same time, we have also the technology to stop it, and the knowledge to stop it,” he noted, stressing the importance of “national unity, global solidarity”.
Many countries have seemed to have a handle on the virus, only for flare-ups to occur once more, so it’s clear that the battle is far from over.
There have now been in excess of 23 million confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world, with more than 800 000 deaths, and just over 16 million recoveries.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, was perhaps less optimistic than Dr Tedros, saying that COVID-19 was “going to be with us forever in some form or another”.
During the Geneva address, South Africa even got a special mention:
…Dr Tedros said corruption related to supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic was “unacceptable”, describing it as “murder”.
“If health workers work without PPE, we’re risking their lives. And that also risks the lives of the people they serve,” he added, in response to a question.
Although the question related to allegations of corruption in South Africa, a number of countries have faced similar issues.
This past weekend saw protests in Nairobi, linked to allegations of corruption during the pandemic.
To end on a slightly more positive note, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr John Nkengasong, reported that recent stats showed that the average daily cases of COVID-19 in Africa had fallen.
He called it a “sign of hope”, but advised “cautious optimism” as “we are dealing with a very delicate virus that spreads rapidly”.
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