The news came just three days after a press briefing on June 19 where the WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed more than 150 thousand new cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO—the most in a single day so far.
“The world is in a new and dangerous phase. Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies. But the virus is still spreading fast, it’s still deadly, and most people are still susceptible,” said Tedros on June 19.
“More than 8.8 million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 465,000 people have lost their lives,” Tedros said.
He noted that all countries had been hit on both health and economic fronts by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
Arguing that measures taken to protect against the pandemic should not be a choice between human lives and livelihoods, Tedros said countries can do both, but warned that many countries that had suppressed the virus were seeing an upswing in cases as the countries reopened.
“We urge countries to be careful and creative in finding solutions that enable people to stay safe while getting on with their lives. We continue to urge all countries to double down on the fundamental public health measures that we know work,” he said.
The WHO has faced intense scrutiny over its handling of the outbreak. In January, the WHO denied human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 occurring in China when, in fact, the first evidence of human-to-human transmission among close contacts appeared in mid-Dec. 2019, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Jan. 29.
Currently, figures from the WHO on June 23 state that nearly 8.9 million people have become infected globally, and approximately 470,000 people have died from the COVID-19 disease, caused by the virus. However, these are estimations as asymptomatic cases, and testing regimes are not accessible or recorded correctly in all countries.
WHO Supports New Drug For Treating the COVID-19 Pathogen
Tedros also declared that the WHO was now recommending the use of the steroid dexamethasone for the treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Oxford University announced on June 16 that after a randomized trial of 2104 patients, “Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen.”
Tedros said on June 16, “This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support.”
“This is great news, and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough.”
Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory drug that has been in use since the 1960s. It decreases the body’s natural defensive response to swelling and allergic-type reactions and is often used to treat conditions like arthritis, immune system disorders, asthma, and certain cancers.