It's time to play offense

Measures such as physical distancing have been powerful, but they are only defensive measures, explained WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Physical distancing measures can give countries a second chance to save lives by buying time while more aggressive measures are developed. But there "comes a time when you have to step forward", said Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies.

Those aggressive tactics include:

Strategic testing, tracing and isolation of contacts. Health workers should prioritize testing suspected cases. Once infected cases are identified, contact tracing can help further prevent the spread of the disease. “We know that is [an] effective way to prevent onward transmission,” said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead.

Staying informed. The most recent, reliable information is key. WHO officials recommended that people stay up-to-date with recommendations from their governments to know their role. “Fear is normal", said Van Kerkhove. “It can be used in a productive way”.

A special messaging service launched in partnership with WhatsApp and Facebook last week is one way WHO officials say people can get reliable information. Since its launch last Friday, the service now has 10 million users and will be expanded into languages such as French, Spanish and Arabic this week.

Developing effective therapeutics. As there is yet no treatment for coronavirus, research will be essential. Measures such as the Solidarity Trial launched last week, an international WHO initiative that compares untested treatments with each other, can speed the search for a solution.

"Small, observational and non-randomized studies will not give us the answers we need”, said the Director-General. Findings “without the right evidence could raise false hope and even do more harm than good".

04 Comments

Will Marvin

1 day ago

Okay what I dont get is they have created high quality cleaners to clean infected surfaces that have these viruses on them such as Corona viruses and what I dont get is why can’t health officials create a proper antidote to vaccinate people for the virus. I find it quite difficult to understand I mean they know what the Corona virus is they know what it does to the immune system I mean the virus obviously needs to make or duplicate itself to even spread I font get it and they know obviously how to prevent or I should say how they would know how to take precautions on not getting the virus….??

Mae Hayes

1 day ago

Creating a vaccine is quite complicated and it takes time to develop one that is safe and effective. Sometimes it takes year or decades – sometimes it seems impossible – for example, we still don’t have an effective vaccine for HIV/AIDs. If an unreliable or untested vaccine was rushed into use, it could easily cause more harm than benefit. Coronavirus infection is thought to spread between humans by respiratory droplets through the air (as with coughing or sneezing) so the role of surface cleansers is not clear. There are a number of precautions people can take: see links to reliable sources of information such as the CDC and WHO in the blog post.

Taylor Johns

1 day ago

Is the coronavirus a man-made virus?

Mae Hayes

1 day ago

No, it is not man-made. This is one of many misconceptions I’ve heard quoted recently. See the links above for reliable information, including the CDC link which says this: “Coronaviruses are common in many different species of animals, including camels and bats. Rarely, these coronaviruses can evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans.”

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