The World Health Organization (WHO) in a recent report stated that the death toll from COVID-19 could reach 2 million before a vaccine is widely available.
This dire outlook comes against the backdrop of a global death toll from the coronavirus which now approaches 1 million people.
The World Health Organization opined that the doubling of that figure is “not impossible” if countries do not work collectively to suppress the virus’ spread.
“It’s certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible, because if we look at losing 1 million people in nine months and then we just look at the realities of getting vaccines out there in the next nine months, it’s a big task for everyone involved,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said in regard to whether the coronavirus death toll could rise to 2 million people.
“The real question is: Are we prepared, collectively, to do what it takes to avoid that number?” Ryan said.
Since the coronavirus emerged from Wuhan, China, late last year, it has infected more than 32 million worldwide and has killed at least 983,900 people as of Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Covid-19 fatality rates have slowly declined over the course of the pandemic because scientists and health experts have made strides in treating seriously ill patients through the better use of oxygen and the steroid dexamethasone, among other therapeutics, Ryan said during a press briefing at WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.
However, 2 million or more coronavirus deaths could be reported before a Covid-19 vaccine becomes widely available if world leaders don’t better implement lifesaving measures and “evolve the nature and scale and intensity of our cooperation,” Ryan warned.
“The time for action is now on every single aspect of this strategic approach,” Ryan said. “Not just test and trace, not just clinical care, not just social distancing, not just hygiene, not just masks, not just vaccines. Do it all. And unless we do it all, [2 million deaths] are not only imaginable but unfortunately and sadly very likely.”
Edited by Jesus Chan
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