COVID-19 May Never Actually Go Away

covid-19 may never actually go awayPhoto: Reuters

As countries across the globe continue to put in their best efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that the virus may never actually go away.

"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." Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said on Wednesday at a press conference in Geneva.

"I think it's important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," said Ryan.

"It is important that we be realistic and I don't think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear," he added.

“I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be.”

That said, it would take a “massive effort” on top of what countries are already doing to curb the pandemic in order to preserve through this crisis.

"In some senses, we have control over that future, but it's going to take a massive effort to do it," he said, adding that "it's going to need the political, the financial, the operational, the technical and the community support to be a success."

Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at WHO also reminded the public that while everyone is in a state of feeling quite some despair, we should always remain positive and hopeful.

"We have seen countries bring this virus under control, we have seen countries use public health measures, the fundamentals of public health and epidemiology and clinical care, to bring the virus under control and to suppress transmission to a low enough level where communities can get back to work and communities can open up again, so we can't forget that," she said.

"It will take some time before we have the information on these medical interventions and it's coming and people are working very hard on that. But this is in our hands and we are seeing hope in a number of countries and I really don't want people to forget that," she added.

Reuters reports that there are more than 100 potential vaccines currently being developed, including several in clinical trials. However, experts have underscored the difficulties of finding vaccines that are effective against coronaviruses.

"We may have a shot at eliminating this virus with the help of a vaccine,” he said, adding that the vaccine must then be highly effective and made available to everyone to use.

Meanwhile, governments around the world are faced with a question on how best to reopen their counties while still remaining cautious to not further spread the virus that has infected almost 4.3 million people, according to a Reuters tally, and led to over 291,000 deaths.

“We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic,” said Maria.

Let’s all remain positive and do our part in containing the spread of COVID-19!

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya