According to health experts and researchers, the global coronavirus pandemic is not expected to end any time soon, with so many countries still in the early stages of the battle against the virus while revealing that the first US COVID-19 deaths came weeks before the alarm was raised there.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 180,000 people with more than 2.6 million confirmed infected cases. Most nations have resorted to social distancing measures and nationwide lockdowns to contain the virus while scouting for a measure to repair their virus-destroyed economies.
Countries are now considering how they can slowly ease their lockdown restrictions following pressures from citizens after seeing millions of people’s jobs go away.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has on Wednesday warned against easing lockdown while stating that the struggle is far from being over.
“Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,” he said.
“Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics. And some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s comments follow the director of the US Centers for Disease Control warning, “Americans must prepare for a second possible and more devastating waves of coronavirus infections.”
The U.S. has suffered the hardest-hit of the pandemic globally, with more than 46,500 coronavirus deaths and nearly 840,000 infections.
Researchers have recently revealed that the first COVID-19 death in the country took place weeks earlier than previously thought, which means that the current US death toll is likely to be far short of what it is.
The newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths that occurred on February 6 and February 17 happened in California’s Santa Clara County, where Stanford University researchers found that the true number cases were at least 50 times higher than the confirmed official figure.
The explosion of coronavirus cases across the United States has overwhelmed healthcare facilities, from the most developed parts like New York City to the Native American territory of the Navajo Nation in the southwest, where a lack of running water and poor infrastructure has made the situation worse.
“Right here in the middle of the most powerful nation, the United States of America, our citizens don’t have the luxury of turning on a faucet to wash your hands with soap and water,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told AFP.
The World Health Organization and other health experts have advised that strict virus containment measures like lockdowns should remain in place until there is a viable treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus.
There was a ray of hope on that front in Europe, where Germany announced Wednesday that human trials for a vaccine will start by next week.
It is only the fifth such effort to have been authorised worldwide, and is a significant step in making a vaccine “available as soon as possible”, Germany’s regulatory body said.
But even at the current, rapid pace of development, an effective prophylactic could be several months away.