The World Health Organization said the downward trend of coronavirus cases didn’t occur naturally, and is warning countries not to become complacent.
“Many countries have paid a heavy price in doing the measures that have needed to be done to suppress the transmission of this disease, and they deserve credit,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a Monday briefing.
“My concern right now is that people may be assuming that the current drop of infections represents a natural seasonality, and I think that's a dangerous assumption,” he said.
Ryan said it’s “worrisome” when people assume the downward trend occurred naturally. In reality, Ryan said, “that has occurred because of very, very, very tough public health measures that have been tough on the population.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “there's a certain predictability of this virus,” adding, “anytime you become complacent and you think you know, it will surprise you.”
“I understand very well and I am in the same boat as you – we all want this to be over, but we have a long way to go," Van Kerkhove said.
Ryan said removing pressure on the virus at this point and assuming “the real next danger point is sometime in October or November” is a “dangerous assumption.”
Van Kerkhove said it could get worse if we have “co-infection or co-circulation of influenza and Covid-19.”
“That could complicate our understanding because if we don’t have testing in place, we don't know what people are infected with. And so it could potentially flood the system, it could potentially overwhelm the system,” she said.