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The Director-general of the World Health Organisation, WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said that he hopes the planet will be rid of the coronavirus pandemic in less than two years — faster than it took for the Spanish flu.
While addressing reporters from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, Ghebreyesus said “We hope to finish this pandemic before less than two years,” adding that it should be possible to tame the coronavirus faster than the deadly 1918 pandemic.
Compared to back then, the world today is at a disadvantage due to its “globalization, closeness, connectedness”, which has allowed the novel coronavirus to spread around the world at lightning speed, Tedros acknowledged.
But the world also now has the advantage of far better technology, he added.
By “utilizing the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can finish it in a shorter time than the 1918 flu.”
Speaking on how the world was badly affected by the deadliest pandemic so far in history, WHO emergencies Chief, Michael Ryan, told journalists Spanish flu, killed as many as 50 million victims, and infected around 500 million around the world between February 1918 and April 2020.
That pandemic came in three waves, with the deadliest second wave beginning in the latter half of 1918.
“It took three waves for the disease to infect most of the susceptible individuals,”
After that, the flu virus behind the pandemic evolved into a far less deadly seasonal bug, which returned for decades.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 from China, the disease has to date killed nearly 800,000 people and infected close to 23 million worldwide, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
Several countries around the world have put in the effort to find a lasting solution to the scourge by way of developing a vaccine that would help save lives.