As COVID-19 cases increase at an alarming rate across the world each day and nations struggle to prevent a second wave of infections, a top global health official warned on Wednesday that Coronavirus may become just another virus like the HIV infection, and may never go away, in the most dire such suggestion yet.
"This virus just may become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away. HIV has not gone away," Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO was quoted as saying by CNN.
"I am not comparing the two diseases but I think it is important that we are realistic. I do not think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear," he added.
Dr Ryan also said lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions while the case count is still high could further accelerate the transmission of the virus and may force nations to impose another lockdown.
"If you can get the day-to-day number 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," he said.
Speaking on the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, the WHO official said that there is a chance to eliminate the virus, but a highly effective vaccine will have to be developed and made available to all. Without a vaccine, he said it could take years for the global population to build up sufficient levels of immunity. “I think it's important to put this on the table,” Dr Ryan said.
According to the WHO, so far, a total of 4,170,424 number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the globe, including 287,399 fatalities. WHO had declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, and it has been providing daily situation report on the infection since January 21.
(With inputs from ANI)