The World Health Organization, or WHO, warned on Monday that there might never be a “silver bullet” or an extraordinary solution like a perfect vaccine against COVID-19.
WHO officials added that the road to normality would be long. And some countries would need to re-think how they deal with the health crisis.
Johns Hopkins University estimates that, by August 3, more than 18 million people around the world had been infected with the disease and more than 690,000 had died. Also, some nations that thought they were over the worst of the crisis are experiencing a resurgence.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged nations to strongly enforce health measures. They include wearing face coverings, social distancing, hand-washing and testing.
“The message to people and governments is clear: ‘Do it all,'" Tedros said from the United Nations agency’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. He said face coverings should become a symbol of togetherness around the world.
“A number of vaccines are now in phase three … trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be,” he noted.
Tedros said while the coronavirus is the biggest health emergency in almost 100 years, the international effort to find a vaccine is unlike anything seen before.
The WHO chief also pointed to some concerns. “We may not have a vaccine that may work, or its protection could be for just a few months, not more … Until we finish the … trials, we will not know.”
Dr. Mike Ryan is the WHO’s head of emergencies. He said countries with high transmission rates, including Brazil and India, needed to prepare for a big fight: “The way out is long,” he said, noting success will require ongoing efforts.
“Some countries are really going to have to take a step back now and really take a look at how they are addressing the pandemic within their national borders,” he added.
WHO officials also said an early investigation team had completed its China mission. The mission, demanded by the United States, was to search and identify the start of the virus. The U.S. is the WHO’s top donor and plans to leave the body next year. The U.S. government accuses the WHO of being too easy on China.
A larger, WHO-led team of Chinese and international experts is planned next. But the timing and other details of that are unclear. Ryan said China had already given some information but some knowledge is still missing.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Michael Shields and Emma Farge reported on this story for Reuters. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Words in This Story
resurgence – n. a growth or increase that occurs after a period without growth or increase
symbol – n. an action, object, or event that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality
phase – n. a part or step in a process
transmission – n. the act or process by which something is spread or passed from one person or thing to another
address(ing) – v. to deal with a matter, issue or problem
pandemic – n. an occurrence in which a disease spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people over a wide area or throughout the world
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