COVID-19 situation worsening globally: WHO

SRINAGAR: The head of the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus pandemic is worsening globally, even as the situation in Europe is improving.

At a press briefing on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that about 75% of cases reported to the U.N. health agency on Sunday came from 10 countries in the Americas and South Asia.

He noted that more than 100,000 cases have been reported on nine of the past 10 days and that the 136,000 cases reported Sunday was the biggest number so far.

Tedros said most countries in Africa are still seeing an increase in cases, including in new geographic areas even though most countries on the continent have fewer than 1,000 cases.

“At the same time, we’re encouraged that several countries around the world are seeing positive signs,” Tedros said.

“In these countries, the biggest threat now is complacency.”

WHO Also said that still believes the spread of the coronavirus from people without symptoms is “rare,” despite warnings from numerous experts worldwide that such transmission is more frequent and likely explains why the pandemic has been so hard to contain.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s the technical lead on COVID-19 said at a press briefing on Monday that many countries are reporting cases of spread from people who are asymptomatic, or those with no clinical symptoms. But when questioned in more detail about these cases, Van Kerkhove said many of them turn out to have mild disease or unusual symptoms.

Although health officials in countries including Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere have warned that COVID-19 is spreading from people without symptoms, WHO has maintained that this type of spread is not a driver of the pandemic and is probably accounts for about 6% of spread, at most. Numerous studies have suggested that the virus is spreading from people without symptoms, but many of those are either anecdotal reports or based on modeling.

Van Kerkhove said that based on data from countries, when people with no symptoms of COVID-19 are tracked over a long period to see if they spread the disease, there are very few cases of spread.

“We are constantly looking at this data and we’re trying to get more information from countries to truly answer this question,” she said. “It still appears to be rare that asymptomatic individuals actually transmit onward.”

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