According to World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the COVID-19 pandemic is “easily the most severe” global health crisis that the organization has ever seen.
Ghebreyesus backed his claim by citing citing the sheer scale of both confirmed coronavirus cases and the global death toll, New Scientist reports. To date, there are over 16.2 million confirmed cases worldwide — and just shy of 649,000 patients have died.
“COVID-19 has changed our world,” Ghebreyesus said during a Monday press briefing. And the pandemic, he added, “has shown what humans are capable of — both positively and negatively.”
During his address, Ghebreyesus said that the guidelines for how to prevent transmission haven’t changed in the six months since the WHO declared the coronavirus a global emergency.
“Keep your distance from others, clean your hands, avoid crowded and enclosed areas, and wear a mask where recommended,” Ghebreyesus said.
He then went on to praise countries that either nipped their outbreaks in the bud — like Vietnam and New Zealand — and those that managed to wrestle large outbreaks back under control: Canada, China, Germany, and Korea.
But clearly not every country got its rear in gear: While he didn’t list any by name, Ghebreyesus didn’t understate the ongoing severity of the pandemic.
“The pandemic continues to accelerate,” he said. “In the past 6 weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled.”