The COVID-19 pandemic is entering a “new and dangerous phase” as daily cases keep increasing, hitting record highs, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
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The new cases reported just yesterday “were the most in a single day so far,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a live press conference.
“Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies. But the virus is still spreading fast. It is still deadly and most people are still susceptible,” he added.
COVID-19 has infected more than 8.5 million people worldwide and killed at least 454,359, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, the worst affected area in the world, the coronavirus has affected 2.1 million citizens and at least 118,435 have died.
Tedros went on to say that all people need to “exercise extreme vigilance” and “focus on the basics.”
“Continue maintaining your distance from others. Stay home if you feel sick. Keep covering your nose and mouth when you cough. Wear a mask when appropriate. Keep cleaning your hands,” he explained.
Tedros did offer a glimmer of hope when he added that the world will “overcome” the pandemic. However, he went on to say that the agency is now worried about low- and middle-income countries.
“COVID-19 has demonstrated that no one is safe until we are all safe,” he said. “Only by putting politics aside and working in true collaboration can we make a difference.
The WHO has already warned world leaders that there can be no returning to normal after the pandemic. “This virus likes to find opportunities to spread and if these lockdown measures are lifted too quickly, the virus can take off,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s lead scientist on COVID-19, said during a May 6 press conference.