WHO says no evidence seen yet that virus is losing potency despite some scientists saying so
With a record of more than 183,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday, the virus is still deadly and has not yet shown significant signs of losing potency, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.
“It seems that almost every day we reach a new and grim record,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the organization’s thrice-weekly press webinar.
“Yesterday, more than 183,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO – easily the most in a single day so far,” he said.
Tedros noted that more than 8.8 million cases have now been reported to the WHO, and more than 465,000 people have lost their lives.
The WHO was asked by Anadolu Agency about statements reported from some scientists that the virus may be losing its potency.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic, replied that there are currently more than 49,000 full genome sequences available that scientists are examining “to determine if there are changes in the virus.”
She added: “We haven’t seen that yet, but we have a group of people globally who are looking at this.”
“We should highlight that this virus is very deadly,” said Van Kerkhove.
“When it does have a chance to infect people, it can kill people. And so, we want to make sure that everyone treats this virus seriously, and make sure that we do everything that we can for preventing infection.”
Van Kerhove said it was important that those infected prevent others from developing more severe diseases.
Tedros observed that some countries that have successfully suppressed transmission are now seeing an upswing in cases as they reopen their societies and economies.
“All countries are facing a delicate balance between protecting their people while minimizing the social and economic damage,” he said.
“It’s not a choice between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both,” said Tedros.
He said the WHO urges countries “to be careful and creative in finding solutions that enable people to stay safe while getting on with their lives.”
Tedros said that the WHO continues to urge all countries to redouble efforts on fundamental public health measures known to work.