The World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the UN agency's latest virtual press conference on Friday, October 30 that the long-term Coronavirus effects are "really concerning".
WHO Director-general said that even though the world is still learning about the SARS-CoV-2, "what is clear is that this is not just a virus that kills people", and to a significant number of people novel Coronavirus poses "a range of serious long-term effects." He also said that the situation also underlines how herd immunity is morally unconscionable and unfeasible.
The head of WHO has described the vast spectrum of novel Coronavirus symptoms that fluctuate over time as a "concerning" issue, which includes fatigue, confusion, breathing difficulties, inflammation, and injury of major organs such as lungs and heart.
Ghebreyesus said during the virtual press conference that it is important that governments recognize the long-term effects of COVID-19 and make sure that people suffering from such post-Coronavirus infection issues have access to health services. "This includes primary health care and when needed specialty care and rehabilitation," he added.
Around the world, there are many people who experienced long-COVID (long-term consequences of Coronavirus infection). One of them was Professor Paul Garner, an infectious disease epidemiologist in the UK at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He was "fit and well" when he contracted the virus in March 2020. But he experienced fatigue, headaches, mood swings, and other symptoms for four months, followed by three months of complete exhaustion.
During Friday's press conference, he said, while speaking via video link, "When I overdid things, the illness would echo back, it would come back. And it was completely unpredictable." As his health started to improve within the past two weeks, Prof Garner said, "I never thought I would have seven months of my life wiped out by this virus. It has just gone, evaporated."
According to the WHO chief, cases like Prof Garner show how people facing the long-term effects of the Coronavirus caused disease must be given the time and required care to recover completely from COVID-19.
"It also reinforces to me just how morally unconscionable and unfeasible the so-called 'natural herd immunity' strategy is," Ghebreyesus said and added that it would lead to millions of unnecessary deaths. "It would also lead to a significant number of people facing a long road to full recovery," the WHO chief stated. But he also explained that herd immunity is only possible if a safe, as well as effective COVID-19 vaccine, has been distributed globally and equitably.
But until the world gets its first effective vaccine against the Coronavirus infection, the WHO chief suggested, "Governments and people must do all that they can to suppress transmission, which is the best way to prevent these post-COVID long-term consequences."