Advertisement

‘Worst is yet ahead of us’ in coronavirus outbreak, WHO warns

FILE - In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization speaks during a news conference on updates regarding on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
FILE - In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization speaks during a news conference on updates regarding on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, file

The head of the World Health Organization has warned that “the worst is yet ahead of us” in the coronavirus outbreak, raising new alarm bells about the pandemic just as many countries are beginning to ease restrictive measures.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus didn’t specify exactly why he believes that the outbreak could get worse. Some people, though, have pointed to the likely future spread of the illness through Africa, where health systems are far less developed.

READ MORE: Ontario’s coronavirus numbers may have peaked, new modelling suggests

So far, it has infected nearly 2.5 million people and killed over 166,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Tedros alluded to the so-called Spanish flu in 1918 as a reference for the coronavirus outbreak.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video 'Quebec hits its COVID-19 infection peak, with the majority of deaths coming from seniors homes' Quebec hits its COVID-19 infection peak, with the majority of deaths coming from seniors homes
Quebec hits its COVID-19 infection peak, with the majority of deaths coming from seniors homes – Apr 17, 2020

“It has a very dangerous combination and this is happening … like the 1918 flu that killed up to 100 million people,” he told reporters in Geneva.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“But now we have technology, we can prevent that disaster, we can prevent that kind of crisis.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus around the world: April 21, 2020' Coronavirus around the world: April 21, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: April 21, 2020

WHO officials warned against countries lifting restrictions and lockdowns too quickly, saying that early data shows that relatively few people have been infected with the virus, meaning that many would be susceptible to a resurgence.

Story continues below advertisement

“Trust us. The worst is yet ahead of us,” Tedros said. “Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Protesters across U.S. demand end to COVID-19 lockdown' Coronavirus outbreak: Protesters across U.S. demand end to COVID-19 lockdown
Coronavirus outbreak: Protesters across U.S. demand end to COVID-19 lockdown – Apr 19, 2020