Covid-19 vaccine not enough to end the coronavirus pandemic — WHO

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Even if a Covid-19 vaccine is vital, it is not enough to end the coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, global leaders and the public must realize how to manage the virus and make permanent adjustments to their lifestyle to keep the virus down to low levels.

“At the same time, we will not, we cannot go back to the way things were,” he said said during a press conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters.

He explained that throughout history, outbreaks and pandemics have caused changes in economies and societies.

“In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has given new impetus to the need to accelerate efforts to respond to climate change,” he said. “The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a glimpse of our world as it could be: cleaner skies and rivers.”

“No silver bullet”

The coronavirus has infected over 22.7 million people worldwide and led to 794,100 deaths in more than seven months, based on the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The WHO said there are 30 potential vaccines in clinical trials but their safety and effectiveness are still not certain.

There are still unanswered questions about Covid-19 even if potential vaccines are already entering human trials. Scientists still could not understand the impact of the virus on the body or how well someone may no longer get reinfected after recovery.

Tedros reiterated there was no “silver bullet” to the virus and “there might never be.”

He calls on global leaders to implement the “basics” of public health and disease control. “Testing, isolating and treating patients and tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all. Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all,” he said on Aug. 3.

Tedros said Friday “every single person” can make a difference in the crisis.

Living with the virus

“Every person and family has a responsibility to know the level of Covid-19 transmission locally and to understand what they can do to protect themselves and others,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said it’s “very important” for the public to learn “how to live with this virus.”

This will help “continue to suppress transmission, identify cases and clusters that pop up so we can quickly put those out and minimize as many deaths as possible,” she said. “In doing so, some countries may need to implement some measures again.”

She added that some countries opt to impose social distancing measures in areas where there is a high level of virus transmission.

“What we are seeing now is a targeted approach to adding interventions that need to be put in place to get outbreaks under control and reduce the number of infections that are happening,” she said.