Coronavirus, like HIV ‘may never go away’-WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday the severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARSCoV2) may never go away, and the world should learn how to live with it.

WHO said the virus may never be wiped out entirely as some areas in the world slowly lifting their lockdown imposed with the hope of preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

The coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in 2019, has now infected around 4.4 million people and killed almost 300,000 worldwide.

“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,” said Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergency director.

“This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

“HIV has not gone away — but we have come to terms with the virus.”

More than half of the world population underwent restrictions since the SARSCoVbegan spreading. 

WHO, however, warned lifting the restrictions could still trigger the second wave of infections. 

“Many countries would like to get out of the different measures,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“But our recommendation is still the alert at any should be at the highest level possible.”

Also read: Only COVID-19 vaccine can bring back ‘normalcy’- UN Chief

Coronavirus, like HIV ‘may never go away’-WHO

Ryan added that there was a “long, long way to go” on the world’s road to returning to normal. He insisted that countries would have to stay the course.

“There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers,” the Irish epidemiologist said.

The WHO’s emergency director also condemned attacks on medical frontlines that were fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. He reported more than 35 “quite serious” attacks were recorded in April alone in 11 countries.

Ryan said the attacks were often over-reactions from ill-informed communities — while others were more sinister.

“COVID-19 is bringing out the best in us, but it’s also bringing out some of the worst,” he said.

“People feel empowered to take out their frustrations on individuals who are purely trying to help.

“These are senseless acts of and discrimination that must be resisted.”

But he insisted the COVID-19 crisis is a “massive opportunity for the world” to take significant steps forward by finding a vaccine and making it accessible worldwide.