WHO Warns Coronavirus Could Be Here to Stay

'I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates,' emergencies chief says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2020 5:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Vaccine or no vaccine, the coronavirus could be here to stay, the World Health Organization warns. WHO emergencies director Dr. Mike Ryan said Wednesday that it is impossible to predict when or if the virus will disappear, the BBC reports. "It is 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," Ryan said. "HIV has not gone away—but we have come to terms with the virus," he said. "I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates," said Ryan, who called for a "massive effort" to overcome the virus. He said the world "may have a shot" at eliminating it, but any vaccine would have to be highly effective and widely available, reports CNN. He noted that vaccines have failed to wipe out diseases like measles.

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the virtual press conference in Geneva that controlling the trajectory of the pandemic is "everybody's business" and warned that with no guaranteed way of easing lockdowns without causing a second wave of infections, "the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible." WHO experts also warned that a mental health crisis caused by the pandemic is developing, the Guardian reports. "The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil—they all cause or could cause psychological distress," said Devora Kestel, director of the WHO's mental health department. She said the looming crisis is a "priority to be addressed urgently." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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