GENEVA — A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official has warned of the risk of continued transmission of the novel coronavirus even after large-scale vaccinations in the foreseeable future.
Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, told a virtual press conference that he doesn’t believe the world should start setting elimination or eradication of this virus as the bar for success.
“That is not the bar for success. The bar for success is reducing the capacity of this virus to kill, to put people in hospital, to destroy our economic and social lives,” Ryan said on Monday.
Asked whether COVID-19 will become an endemic, he emphasized that “for the foreseeable future, the coverage of vaccines will not reach a point where it will stop transmission. So we’re likely to have continued transmission.
“Noting that countries should probably not expect to get rid of the virus by 2021, Ryan reminded that so far in human history “we’ve only ever eradicated one disease on this planet: smallpox.”
“We have to reach a point where we’re in control of the virus,” he said.