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The novel coronavirus pandemic is “not necessarily the big one,” World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned Monday.
“This pandemic has been very severe,” Ryan said at the global health agency’s last virtual media briefing of 2020, The Washington Post reported. “It has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one.”
According to Ryan, the world needs to brace for a far deadlier pandemic in the future and view the coronavirus as a “wake-up call.”
“These threats will continue,” he said. “One thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together.”
There have reportedly been more than 340,000 CVOID-19- related deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic. Notably, the U.S. has a very liberal measure for counting deaths with the coronavirus, with states typically including any death where the person in question had tested positive for the virus within about 30 days of their deaths. The wide net has included even drowning and gunshot wound victims in state totals, for example.
In September, the CDC informed the public that out of all the deaths attributed to COVID, 6% of those deaths had COVID alone cited as the cause, noting, “For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”
Dr. Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, clarified the alarming statistic, noting that there is “nothing misleading in the CDC report itself,” but stressed that the 6% statistic is often being taken “out of context.” The epidemiologist added that what the “CDC’s update really means is that 94% of the people who died from the coronavirus had at least one other health condition, in addition to COVID-19, that could have contributed to their passing,” ABC7 WWSB reported at the time.
Back in March, Ryan made headlines when he acknowledged that lockdowns in nations across the world had “in some senses” driven infections from off the street to inside the home, advocating the removal of the sick from homes into “dignified” isolation.
Praising efforts in Singapore, Ryan suggested there be medical professionals going door to door to find those likely infected, and “remove” them from the home for “dignified” isolation, The Daily Wire reported at the time:
“In most parts of the world, due to lockdown, most of the transmission that’s actually happening in many countries now is happening in the household, at family level,” acknowledged Dr. Ryan on March 30. “In some senses, transmission has been taken off the streets and pushed back into family units.”
“Now, we need to go and look in families to find those people who may be sick and remove them and isolate them in a safe and dignified manner,” the official continued.
“That’s what I was saying previously … the transition from movement restrictions and shutdowns and stay-at-home orders can only be made if we have in place the means to be able to detect suspect cases, isolate confirmed cases, track contacts, and follow up on the contacts’ health at all times,” explained Dr. Ryan, “and then isolate any of those people who become sick themselves.”