Senior WHO Official: COVID-19 Pandemic Not ‘Necessarily the Big One’

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A senior official with the World Health Organization on Monday warned that the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t “necessarily the big one” the world needs to brace for.

Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of the emergencies program, said in the WHO’s final media briefing of 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic has been “severe.”

“But this is not necessarily the big one,” he said. “This is a wake-up call. We are learning now how to do things better — science, logistics, training and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile. We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, [it] is [that] we need to get our act together. We need to honor those we’ve lost by getting better at what we do every day.”

More than 1.7 million people worldwide have died from the coronavirus, including 336,325 in the U.S., according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

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