On Monday, the World Health Organization warned that there might never be a “silver bullet” for COVID-19 as it had completed the groundwork in China to probe the origins of the new coronavirus. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO chief, advised governments and citizens to emphasize on known necessary steps to suppress the pandemic, like maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask, testing, and contact tracing.
Tedros told a virtual press conference that they all hope to have several effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. He also stated that there was no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be. Tedros said that the most effective for now are the basics of public health, and putting on a mask, in particular, was relaying a “powerful message to those around you that we are all in this together”.
He added that however bad the situation was, past examples such as South Korea showed it could be turned around even as infections are surging in some countries around the world. Tedros also said that leaders should step up and work intensely with their populations.
According to a tally from official sources collected by AFP, since the outbreak emerged in Wuhan in China last December, the novel coronavirus has killed close to 690,000 people and infected at least 18.1 million. In early May, the WHO began pressing China to invite in its experts to help investigate the animal origins of COVID-19.
To lay the groundwork for a investigation targeted at finding how the virus entered the human species, the UN health agency sent an epidemiologist and an animal health specialist to Beijing on July 10. Tedros stated that their scoping mission is now complete. Tedros also said WHO and Chinese experts had agreed on the terms of reference and a programme of work for a WHO-led international team of scientists and researchers from around the world. He added that in identifying the potential source of infection of the early cases, epidemiological studies would begin in Wuhan.
Scientists say a market in the city of Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat could be the source as they believe the killer virus jumped from animals to humans. WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan stressed that the search for the disease’s origin would require much more in-depth study and paid tribute to the work already done by Chinese experts.