Second year of pandemic ‘could be even tougher’: WHO’s Ryan By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Session of the Executive Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the response to COVID-19 in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) – The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic may be more difficult than the first given the way the new coronavirus is spreading, especially in the Northern Hemisphere as more infectious variants circulate, it said on Wednesday the World Health Organization (WHO). “We are entering a second year of this, it could even be more difficult given the transmission dynamics and some of the problems we are seeing,” Mike Ryan, WHO’s chief emergency officer, said during a social media event. . The death toll worldwide is approaching 2 million people since the pandemic began, with 91.5 million people infected. The WHO, in its latest epidemiological update issued overnight, said that after two weeks of fewer cases being reported, some five million new cases were reported last week, the likely result of a drop in defenses during the season. Christmas in which people and the virus – came together. “Certainly in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, we’ve seen that kind of perfect storm of the season: chill, people coming in, greater social mixing, and a combination of factors that have driven increased transmission in many, many countries, “Ryan said. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical leader for COVID-19, warned: “After the holidays, in some countries the situation will get much worse before it gets better.” Amid mounting fears of the most contagious variant of coronavirus first detected in Britain but now entrenched across the world, governments in Europe announced on Wednesday tighter and longer coronavirus restrictions. That includes requirements for home offices and store closures in Switzerland, an extended COVID-19 state of emergency in Italy, and German efforts to further reduce contacts between those blamed for failed efforts, so far, to control the coronavirus. “I am concerned that we will stick to this peak and valley and peak and valley pattern, and we can do better,” Van Kerkhove said. She asked to maintain physical distancing, adding: “The farther away the better … but be sure to keep that distance from people outside your immediate home.”

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