The director of the World Health Organization's program overseeing health crises warned Tuesday that countries that rush to reopen their economies risk immediately causing a massive increase in coronavirus infections and deaths.
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, addressed the incorrect assumption that once a country's Covid-19 cases begin to decline, the first wave of the pandemic is on its way out and governments will have several months to prepare for a potential second wave in the fall.
In addition to preparing for another wave of outbreaks later this year, Ryan said that public health officials and governments "need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time."
In Europe and North America, where cases currently appear to be on the decline, officials must "continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures, and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don't have an immediate second peak," Ryan said.
On Twitter, writer and activist Richard Seymour said governments are "pretty determinedly leading us into the second peak."
“We may get a second peak in this wave, this happened during pandemics in the past.”
The WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan warns of a second peak - not necessarily a second wave – of coronavirus cases. He adds, we need to be cognizant that the disease can “jump up at any time”. pic.twitter.com/P1uxTzJbZV
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) May 26, 2020