With the world fast approaching 1 million deaths officially related to covid-19, a doubling of that number is “certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible,” World Health Organization expert Mike Ryan said Friday at a news briefing.
“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,” Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said.
“The real question is: Are we prepared, collectively, to do what it takes to avoid that number?” he added.
Over 32 million people worldwide have been infected with the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19, which has killed more than 985,000 people since January, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Public health experts have cautioned that while a vaccine may stem the spread, the novel coronavirus is likely to remain a permanent threat.
“The time for action is now on every single aspect of this strategic approach,” Ryan said Friday. “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.”