WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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13-May-2020 00:04:25
The Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, Micheal Ryan, said the virus causing COVID-19 "may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
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SOURCE: WHO
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DATELINE: 13 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA,SWIRZERLAND

1. Wide shot, WHO headquarters exterior

13 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):

“As the world celebrated nurses, I was shocked and appalled to hear of the attack on an MSF hospital in Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of nurses, mothers and babies.”
3. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):

“There's a long, long way to go before there's going to be any bells unrung in this response. I think we need to be clear about that. Countries as you've seen, are trying to find a path out and a path towards, a new normal as many people have put it, and we're going to be on that pathway for a long, long time. And as we've seen in some countries, even a small, recurrence of disease can cause the need for a serious response in terms of the public health response.”
5. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“So, if you can get the day to day case number down to the lowest possible level and get as much virus out of the community as possible, then when you open, you will tend to have less transmission or much less risk. If you reopen in the presence of a high degree of virus transmission, then that transmission may accelerate. If that virus transmission accelerates and you don't have the systems to detect it, it will be days or weeks before you know something's gone wrong. And by the time that happens, you're back into a situation where your only response is another lockdown. And I think this is what we all fear.”
7. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Very, very smart people are saying on the economic side that the worst thing that can happen is if we go out of a lockdown and then we don't do the health part right and we go back into a lockdown. That that has more danger for the economic system than it actually has with the health system in a sense. Because you can imagine that if the health system gets time to recover, then it can cope with another rise in cases. And the health system can probably do that a few times. I'm not sure how many times do economic system can do that. So, I do this this isn’t an either or.”
9. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We should not be waiting to see if opening of lockdowns has worked, by counting the cases in the ICUs or counting the bodies in the morgue, that is not the way to know something has gone wrong. The way to know that the disease is coming back is to have community-based surveillance, to be testing and to know the problem is coming back, and then be able to adjust your public health measures accordingly. Let us not go back to a situation where we don't know what's happening until our hospitals are overflowing. That is not a good way to do business.”
11. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“If you're a scientist and you project forward in the absence of a vaccine and you're try and calculate, how long is it going to take for enough people to become infected so that this disease settles into an endemic phase and we may never, I think that's important to put this on the table. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.”
13. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We do have a duty of care to care for and protect our most vulnerable, our wisest, our most cherished citizens. And we also need to take this on because we want, our communities will not be safe in many countries where over 50 percent of all the cases have been in long-term care facilities. And I can tell you that's a long list of countries. If you measure how many countries in this response have more than 50 percent of their cases in long-term care facilities, well, we also have long-term issues to face in terms of how we are providing care for our older citizens.”
15. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference

STORYLINE:

The Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, Micheal Ryan, said the virus causing COVID-19 "may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.”

Speaking at press conference today (13 May), Ryan said there was a “long, long way to go before there's going to be any bells unrung” in the COVID-19 response. He said countries are trying to find a path towards “a new normal as many people have put it, and we're going to be on that pathway for a long, long time.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
“So, if you can get the day to day case number down to the lowest possible level and get as much virus out of the community as possible, then when you open, you will tend to have less transmission or much less risk. If you reopen in the presence of a high degree of virus transmission, then that transmission may accelerate. If that virus transmission accelerates and you don't have the systems to detect it, it will be days or weeks before you know something's gone wrong. And by the time that happens, you're back into a situation where your only response is another lockdown. And I think this is what we all fear.”

Ryan stressed that “very, very smart people are saying on the economic side that the worst thing that can happen is if we go out of a lockdown and then we don't do the health part right and we go back into a lockdown.” He said doing this carried more danger for the economic system than the health system because if the health system is given time to recover, then it can cope with another rise in cases. He added that the health system “can probably do that a few times. I'm not sure how many times do economic system can do that.”


The Executive Director stressed that the success criteria of lifting lockdown should not be “by counting the cases in the ICUs or counting the bodies in the morgue.” He said the way to know that the disease is coming back is to “have community-based surveillance, to be testing and to know the problem is coming back, and then be able to adjust your public health measures accordingly.” He added, “Let us not go back to a situation where we don't know what's happening until our hospitals are overflowing. That is not a good way to do business.”


At the top of that press conference, WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus condemned yesterday’s hospital attack in Kabul. He said, “As the world celebrated nurses, I was shocked and appalled to hear of the attack on an MSF hospital in Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of nurses, mothers and babies.”
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