Coronavirus pandemic will be with us for a long time, WHO warns

People wearing face masks on Oxford Street London as face coverings become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England

People wearing face masks on Oxford Street London as face coverings become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still constitutes a public health emergency of worldwide concern (PHEIC), and long-term response efforts are needed given an anticipated lengthy duration of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.

Going into the meeting, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic's effects would be long-lasting.

More than 68,000 cases were confirmed in the United States, and over 1,200 people died on Friday. He admitted that it has been tough to convince the youth of the risks they face.

It called for improved understanding of the epidemiology and severity of COVID-19, including its long-term health effects.

"Evidence suggests that spikes of cases in some countries are being driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the northern hemisphere summer", he said.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on the pandemic, said that night clubs in a number of places had become "amplifiers of transmission" of the virus.

"It tells us how frequently infection occurs among different populations, how many people have had mild or asymptomatic infection, and how many people have been infected but may not have been identified by routine disease surveillance".

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"WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high", said its latest statement.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, many are becoming frustrated with lockdowns and restrictions.

MRI scans of their hearts had found shown "profound changes, inflammatory changes in the cardiac linings of the heart and the cardiac muscles", he said.

Globally, 17 005 983 cases of COVID-19 (in accordance with the applied case definitions and testing strategies in the affected countries) have been reported, including 666 857 deaths on July 30, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. "Why take the risk?" he asked.

Young people, he warned, should of course try to rein in transmission as an altruistic act to avoid spreading the virus to more vulnerable groups, he said, but they should also do so out of consideration for their own health. "Play it safe, use your brain, use your mind".

"Use your brain... Don't take a risk that you can not quantify".

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