COVID-19 cases pass 8.5 million; WHO warns of dangerous phase

June 22, 2020

As worldwide cases surpass 8.5 million, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the pandemic is entering a dangerous phase, with people tired of staying home and countries eager to reopen economies, but with COVID-19 activity still spreading fast and much of the world's population still susceptible.

The global total rose to almost 8,600,000 cases, and nearly 460,000 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.

At a media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said countries reported more than 150,000 cases to the WHO in a 24-hour period, the most in a single day. He said almost half were reported from the Americas, but with South Asia and the Middle East also reporting large numbers.

He said people are understandably fed up with stay-at-home orders and countries are understandably eager to get society and economies moving again. "But the virus is still spreading fast, it's still deadly, and most people are still susceptible," Tedros said. "We call on all countries and all people to exercise extreme vigilance."

The WHO urges people to continue distancing measures, to stay home when sick, to observe cough and hand hygiene, and wear masks when appropriate. "We continue to call on all countries to focus on the basics: find, isolate, test and care for every case. Trace and quarantine every contact," Tedros said. 

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