As the world surpasses 10 million COVID-19 cases and more than 500,000 deaths as of early July, the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic is only getting started.
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a virtual briefing this week.
“With 10 million cases now and half a million deaths, unless we address the problems we’ve already identified at WHO, the lack of national unity and lack of global solidarity and the divided world which is actually helping the virus to spread … the worst is yet to come,” he said. “I’m sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and conditions, we fear the worst.”
The BBC reported that Ghebreyesus called for struggling countries to look to Germany, South Korea, and Japan as examples of how to keep the pandemic under control. All three countries appear to have flattened the curve with extensive contact tracing and testing.
“No excuse for contact tracing,” he said. “If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse.”
Ghebreyesus’ criticism comes at a point where the United States leads with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths globally, with more than 2.6 million cases and 126,000 deaths. States around the country experienced surges in infections after beginning to reopen their economies in June.
“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over,” Ghebreyesus said. “Most people remain susceptible, the virus still has a lot of room to move.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a similar warning on June 29, as well. According to Axios, CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat told The Journal of the American Medical Association that the U.S. has “way too much virus across the country” to contain the outbreak.
Read more on contact tracing:
- What is contact tracing and will it help slow down the spread of coronavirus?
- Why implementing contact tracing might be harder than we originally thought
- Why contact tracing apps are fighting an uphill battle against coronavirus