The World Health Organization warned on Monday that despite the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 1.7 million people and infected tens of millions more in one year, it was urgently to prepare for “the worst”.
“It’s a wake-up call,” warned Michael Ryan, WHO’s head of emergency situations at the last press conference of the year for the organization, which is on the front lines in the fight against the worst pandemic in 100 years.
“This pandemic has been very severe. It has spread throughout the world very quickly and it has touched every corner of the planet, but it is not necessarily the worst ”, warned the doctor, who in his career had to face the field some of the deadliest pathogens.
While acknowledging that the virus “spreads very easily and kills people […] Its death rate is relatively low compared to other emerging diseases, ”we need to“ prepare for something that may be even worse in the future ”, insisted Dr. Ryan.
His colleague and WHO adviser Bruce Aylward hit the nail on the head, saying that despite the scientific feats being made in the fight against Covid-19, including creating effective vaccines in record time, the world was far from being prepared to fight future pandemics.
“We are in the second and third wave of this virus and we are still not ready and able to handle them,” he said at the press conference.
And to insist: “even if we are better prepared, we are not completely ready for the current (pandemic), and even less for the next”.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus preferred to see the glass half full.
“In terms of awareness, I think we are there,” he said, while stressing that it was the moment “to be really serious”.
“We will need more ambition,” he said.