Another ‘tragic milestone’: Reported cases of COVID-19 pass 200,000, says UN health chief

It took three months to reach the first 100,000 cases of COVID-19 but only 12 days to double that, to reach over 200,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“Every day, COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists, revealing that the agency had received reports of more than 210,000 cases and over 9,000 people deaths.

While stressing that “every loss of life is a tragedy”, he maintained that it also provides “motivation to double down and do everything we can to stop transmission and save lives”.

Although older people are hardest hit, younger people are not spared, as data from many countries show that those under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

“Today, I have a message for young people: You are not invincible”, the WHO chief stressed. “This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.  Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else”.

Power to reverse pandemic

WHO is concerned if COVID-19 should gain a foothold in countries with weaker health systems, or with vulnerable populations, noting that it could lead to significant sickness and loss of life.

“But that is not inevitable”, said Mr. Ghebreyesus. “Unlike any pandemic in history, we have the power to change the way this goes”.

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