WHO: Aggressive action needed to turn COVID-19 around

July 13, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the global number of COVID-19 cases has more than doubled over the last six weeks, and there is a lot of work ahead, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.

Globally, COVID-19 total has grown to almost 13 million cases, and over 550,000 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard. In the U.S., there are over 3 million cases of the novel coronavirus, including more than 130,000 deaths, by far the most infections and fatalities of any country.

At a WHO media briefing, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said the pandemic is testing people across all walks of life to their limits. "For those in poverty, with little or no access to quality health services, it's not only COVID-19 that threatens lives and livelihoods," he said, adding that other diseases like measles, polio, and malaria thrive when immunization is paused and drug supply chains are interrupted.

Some countries are experiencing exponential growth in COVID-19 cases, while others are starting to see cases rise after loosening their restrictions, Tedros said, but the underlying message is that aggressive action with national unity and global solidarity can turn the pandemic around. "We need leadership, community participation, and collective solidarity."

Tedros said there are many examples of countries turning their outbreaks around, even when activity was very intense. Alongside Italy, Spain, and South Korea, he highlighted Dharavi, a densely packed part of Mumbai. "A strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus."

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