The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could become endemic like HIVThe World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, while warning against any attempt to predict the duration of the disease and calling for a “giant effort” to counter it.
“It is important to establish it: the virus can become another endemic virus in our communities and may never disappear ”, declared WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, during an online appearance.
“I think it is important that we are realistic and it seems to me that nobody can predict when the disease will disappear“He added. “I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates.”
However, Ryan claimed that there was some control over how people dealt with the virus, although it would take “enormous effort” even if a vaccine was finally obtained.
More than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including several in clinical trials, but experts have highlighted the difficulties of finding immunizations that are effective against coronaviruses. Ryan pointed out that there are vaccines for diseases like measles, which has not been eradicated.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that “it is everyone’s problem, and we should all contribute to stopping this pandemic.”
Ryan indicated that “very significant control” of the virus was required to reduce the risk assessment, which according to him remained high at “national, regional and global levels”.
Governments around the world have a dilemma of how to reopen their economies by containing the virus at the same time, with nearly 4.3 million infected, according to a Reuters count, and more than 291,000 deaths.
The European Union was pushing on Wednesday for a safe reopening of its borders, while insisting on protective measures such as face masks on planes, to try to save the depressed tourism sector for the lucrative boreal summer season now that coronavirus infections are down.
But public health experts say extreme caution is needed to avoid new outbreaks. Ryan said opening land borders was less risky than facilitating air travel, which was a “different challenge.”
“We need to have the mentality that it will take some time to get out of this pandemic,” said WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove at the briefing.