The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned of the threat of another pathogen emerging with more catastrophic potential than COVID-19.
The planet should be ready for a disease "even deadlier" than Covid, the WHO has warned. Even deadlier than 0.2% fatality rate? Goodness. Fortunately, we have the WHO to lock us in our homes till the vaccines are ready. https://t.co/VONS1grEhW
— Toby Young (@toadmeister) May 23, 2023
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the World Health Assembly forum in Geneva, Switzerland, that the possibility of another pandemic must be addressed and not kicked “down the road.” He also claimed that despite COVID-19 being in most people’s “rear mirror,” a harmful variant with the power to send the world back to the “COVID-era” could still spawn.
“The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains. And the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains,” Ghebreyesus said.
Tedros added that in the face of overlapping crises, “pandemics are far from the only threat we face.”
“When the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably,” he advised.
The WHO has identified nine priority diseases as the “riskiest” for public health. They were considered the “riskiest” because of a lack of treatments and their ability to cause pandemics.
He reported that countries have progressed on “universal health coverage,” with approximately 500 million people benefitting. Yet, he warned that if current trends continue, less than 50% of the world’s population would be “covered” by 2029.
“The pandemic has blown us off course, but it has shown us why the SDGs must remain our north star, and why we must pursue them with the same urgency and determination with which we countered the pandemic,” he said.
Tedros also applauded several “achievements” that were made by governments worldwide in 2022 in what he calls the “five Ps”: promoting, providing, protecting, powering, and performing for health.
He called for urgent and productive negotiations on the new global pandemic accord and the International Health Regulations (IHR), the treaty that oversees all responses to health emergencies,” so the world will never again have to face the devastation of a pandemic like COVID-19.”
Tedros concluded by asking countries to support a 20% increase in their contributions to support the work of WHO from its Geneva headquarters.