WHO Special Envoy: COVID-19 Will ‘Stalk Human Race’ For A Long Time

Candidate to the post of Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) David Nabarro gestures during a press conference on January 26, 2017 in Geneva The World Health Organization picked three finalist... Candidate to the post of Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) David Nabarro gestures during a press conference on January 26, 2017 in Geneva The World Health Organization picked three finalists for the role of its next director-general, a high-stakes choice for the powerful agency described as facing an "existential crisis". / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 12, 2020 12:19 p.m.
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World Health Organization Special Envoy Dr. David Nabarro warned that COVID-19 will “stalk” the human race until a vaccine is available to combat it, during a Sunday morning interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press.”

When asked how likely the United States and Europe are going to get a second wave of COVID-19, Nabarro first pointed out that the WHO is unsure it will come in waves in the way that influenza does, but that the organization thinks “it is going to be a virus that stalks the human race for quite a long time to come” until there’s a vaccine.

“There will be small outbreaks that will emerge sporadically and they will break through our defense,” Nabarro said.

Nabarro argued that the key to combat the pandemic is for every community to have “a kind of defensive shield” that can “pick up cases as soon as they appear, isolate them and stop outbreaks from developing.”

“It is going to be necessary for every single country to have that capacity,” Nabarro said. “And so we’re actually encouraging countries to put that in place now, and that will facilitate releasing lockdowns and prevent further massive outbreaks.”

In response to President Trump’s critique of the WHO, Nabarro said that the WHO “works on behalf of all the governments in the world” and that it has to rely on information that’s received from different governments. He then added that “we have to move forward” and have to “get the best possible cooperation.”

When asked about Trump threatening to withhold U.S. funding to the WHO, Nabarro responded that he hopes that “all nations will not find any reason to make threats” in a “massive epic struggle.”

After stating that the WHO loves its partnership with the United States and that it has worked with American scientists for years, Nabarro said it “would be so unfortunate if anything happened to lessen that cooperation” and that “it’s too important to have anything that disturbs the functioning of the international system at this time.”

Nabarro’s remarks come a day after the WHO said that it was investigating South Korea’s report that 91 people who had ostensibly recovered from COVID-19 later tested positive for the virus again.

Watch Nabarro’s remarks below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

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COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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