The coronavirus “may never go away” and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday (May 13).
Almost 300,000 people worldwide are reported to have died from coronavirus, and more than 4.3 million cases recorded.
Speaking at a virtual press conference in Geneva, WHO Executive Director Dr. Michael Ryan warned against trying to predict when the virus would disappear.
“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,” said Dr. Ryan.
He added, “HIV has not gone away, but we have come to terms with the virus.” He made it clear that even if a vaccine is found, controlling the virus will require a “massive effort”.
There are currently more than 100 potential vaccines in development – but Dr. Ryan noted there are other illnesses, such as measles, that still haven’t been eliminated despite there being vaccines for them.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed it was still possible to control the virus, with effort.
“The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business, and we should all contribute to stop this pandemic,” he said.
WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove also told the briefing, “We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic.”