The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated this Tuesday that the return to the confinements that some countries in Europe are already considering in the face of the increase in cases of covid-19 it must be the “last resort” in the current fight against the pandemic.
“Great movement restrictions that keep many people at home and limit the ability of many to work and socialize should be the last resort when it comes to preventing covid-19 and preventing health systems from becoming saturated,” said the spokesperson for WHO Tarik Jasarevic at a press conference. The official source added that this type of measure “They are not sustainable, given the great social and economic impact.”
Jasarevic insisted that “it is not a question of choosing between leaving the virus free or closing our societies,” and stressed that there are more tools to combat the pandemic that include hand hygiene, physical distancing, the use of masks and, by the health networks, the tracking of cases and contacts.
The spokesperson affirmed that the coronavirus containment measures must always depend on local risk reports, and stressed that the confinements at the national level “They cannot be the default control measure.”
He also admitted that “some countries have been forced to issue orders for their citizens to stay home to manage rapid increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations” and thus buy time to improve the response capacity of their health systems .
It should be remembered that at the time the World Health Organization (WHO) supported the general confinements and quarantines decreed by most countries, although, it is worth saying, it was an epidemiological moment different from the current one and, as has been proven, These measures managed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
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Letting go of a dangerous virus, of which we do not understand everything, is unethical. It is not an option
This Monday, the WHO also warned that “it is not an option” to let the new coronavirus circulate freely so that the population acquires herd immunity, as some have suggested.
“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy to respond to an epidemic, much less a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic, ”said director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference.
“Letting go of a dangerous virus, about which we do not understand everything, is simply unethical. It is not an option”He insisted.
He also explained that the world does not know much about the immunity enjoyed by people who contracted the virus, and stressed that some were infected again. “Most people infected with the virus develop an immune response in the first weeks, but we do not know if this response is strong or long-lasting, or if it differs from one person to another,” he explained.
And, according to a study published this Tuesday in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, an American has contracted covid-19 twice in the span of a month and a half and the second time the infection was more serious than the first. With this, there are already five cases of reinfection documented so far.
The WHO director stressed that the concept of herd immunity is used in vaccination campaigns and recalled that for smallpox it is required that 95 percent of the population be vaccinated so that the remaining 5 percent is protected. For polio the rate is 80 percent.
The head of the WHO acknowledged that “there have been discussions about the concept of achieving a supposed herd immunity allowing the virus to spread.” But “herd immunity is obtained by protecting people against a virus, and not exposing them to it,” he stressed.