Global COVID-19 death toll may hit 2 million before vaccine comes, says WHO

Mike Ryan

New Delhi (NVI): The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the global death toll from COVID-19 could double to two million before a successful vaccine is widely used.

WHO’s emergencies director Mike Ryan said that the coronavirus figures can be even higher without concerted action to curb the pandemic, according to the reports.

The number of COVID-19 deaths is fast approaching one million – nine months after the outbreak started in China. Speaking at a media briefing, Ryan said, “One million is a terrible number and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million, adding that, “are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number?”

“If we don’t take those actions…yes, we will be looking at that number and sadly much higher,” Ryan added.

He also highlighted the challenges ahead in funding, producing and distributing any eventual vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

“If we look at losing a million people in nine months and then we just look at the realities of getting a vaccine out there in the next nine months, it’s a big task for for everyone involved,” Ryan added.

The WHO’s prediction comes as the United States crossed seven million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. The United States now has 7,005,746 cases which is the highest in the world.

Meanwhile, Ryan also urged Europeans to ask themselves whether they had done enough to avoid the need for lockdowns. He questioned whether all the alternatives had been implemented, like testing and tracing, quarantine, isolation, social distancing, wearing masks and hand-washing.

In addition to this, Ryan said, Spain’s capital Madrid earlier brought another eight districts under tougher coronavirus restrictions, which now affect a million people in the city.

“In France, staff from bars and restaurants in the southern city Marseille protested against the closure of their workplaces and in the UK, tougher restrictions were announced in several regions as new daily infections rise,” he added.

The WHO has also asked countries and individuals to come together to tackle the crisis, saying that the prospect of another million deaths is not unimaginable.

-RJV