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During a week in which coronavirus cases hit record highs—and the White House Chief said "we're not going to control the pandemic"—Director-General of World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that you can't stop caring now. "We understand the pandemic fatigue that people are feeling," Ghebreyesus said. "But if we want to avoid them, we all have to play our part and we cannot give up," he added. Read on for more of his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
The WHO Chief Says the "Fatigue" is Real—But We Need to Protect Our Fellow Humans
"Working from home, children being schooled remotely, not being able to celebrate milestones with friends and family or not being there to mourn loved ones — it's tough and the fatigue is real," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday. But, he said, "we cannot give up … Leaders must balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods with the need to protect health workers and health systems as intensive care fills up."
Health workers are indeed in danger. A CDC report issued just today studied the "data on characteristics and outcomes of U.S. health care personnel (HCP) hospitalized with COVID-19" and found that: "HCP can have severe COVID-19–associated illness, highlighting the need for continued infection prevention and control in health care settings as well as community mitigation efforts to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission."
"From the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, front-line medical personnel have complained of shortages of personal protective equipment. Some of the shortages abated for a while, but supplies have become strained in certain areas of the country as a surge of coronavirus outbreaks has reached daily records," reports the New York Times. "Calling the findings no surprise," Michelle Mahon, assistant director of nursing practice at National Nurses United, "criticized federal officials for not having more robust guidelines in place. Her organization, which issued a report on workers' deaths last month, says about 2,000 health care workers have so far died from the virus."
We Can Both Mitigate and Control the Pandemic, Says WHO Chief
Ghebreyesus's comments came during a week in which the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN: "We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations," Mr. Meadows said.
Asked about Meadows' comments, Ghebreyesus agreed that mitigation is essential, as is protecting the vulnerable, "but giving up on control is dangerous," he said, calling them "not contradictory." "We can do both," he said. "Governments should do their share and our citizens should do their share, to do everything to minimize transmission," he said.
Ghebreyesus also discussed the distribution of the vaccine. "It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively. And the best way to do that is to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries. Let me be clear: vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it," he said.
"There aren't magic solutions to this outbreak. No one wants more so-called lockdowns. But if we want to avoid them, we all have to play our part." So play your part: wash your hands, wear your face mask, avoid crowds, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.