(NY DAILY NEWS) – The World Health Organization chief warned Monday that “the worst is yet ahead of us” and countries shouldn’t be so quick to ease restrictive coronavirus guidelines.
“Trust us. The worst is yet ahead of us,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters from the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. “Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”
The virus has so far infected 2.5 million people worldwide and killed more than 166,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Many countries in Asia and Europe have started lifting quarantines, reopening schools and businesses and easing social distancing rules as the number of cases and deaths have plateaued or decreased. President Trump has called on governors across the U.S. to “re-open” their states and lift stay-at-home orders.
The WHO has been accused by Trump of botching its response to the coronavirus pandemic and hiding information from China in the early days of the outbreak.
“There is no secret in WHO because keeping things confidential or secret is dangerous. It’s a health issue,” Tedros said.
“This virus is dangerous. It exploits cracks between us when we have differences,” he said.
Tedros compared the coronavirus to the 1918 influenza outbreak that killed 100 million worldwide, but stressed that we have technology and infrastructure to prevent a similar casualty toll.
The director added that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention people are assigned to WHO and dismissed the idea that the U.S. was kept in the dark at any point.
“Having CDC staff (at WHO) means there is nothing hidden from the U.S. from Day One,” Tedros said. “Our CDC colleagues also know that we give information immediately to anyone.”