Coronavirus may never go away, like HIV, WHO says

Michael Ryan

The new coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday as some countries around the world began  gradually easing lockdown.

"We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it," Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director said. "This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

"HIV has not gone away, but we have come to terms with the virus," the Irish epidemiologist added.

More than half of humanity has been put under some form of lockdown since the coronavirus crisis began. But the WHO warned there was no way to guarantee that easing the restrictions would not trigger a second wave of infections. Ryan added that there was a "long, long way to go" on the path to returning to normal, insisting that countries would have to stay the course.

"There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers," he said. According to him finding a vaccine and making it widely accessible will be a chance for humanity to take major step forward.

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