The World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee declared the spread of COVID-19, which began in China, as a pandemic or a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This is an essential procedure in securing a coordinated and comprehensive response to the dangers caused by this outbreak.
The organization of a PHEIC can do large-scale monitoring, deliver available information, prepare resources, continue research, and facilitate collaborative, evidence-based action. It will be essential to containing and enhancing the impacts of a fast-spreading virus such as COVID-19.
It will require a united international effort for the massive implications of the spread of coronavirus in countries that have frail health systems, as WHO Director-General Teodros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted. The spread of the virus where resource shortage would affect the detection and containment of those infected. This would highlight the importance of support from other countries that are more than capable.
The emergency community’s decision is supported by the membership of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. IDSA President Tomas File, M.D., FIDSA, MSc, would like to urge the international community of health responders to take this opportunity to work together and be ready to render expertise and guidance to control this outbreak.
Major Challenges of the Coronavirus Outbreak
Two of the most critical challenges in the coronavirus outbreak are political sensitivity and data transparency, which are deeply connected. China has done concealing, delaying, and refusing to share information and data before, as seen in the cases of SARS in 2002-2003, and 2018. Similarly, they also refused to share samples of bird flu. To date, China has shown some success in containing the spread of the virus. However, the scale it has reached cannot be ignored. As of writing, there are more than 140,000 patients infected with the virus.
The Sensitive Groups Affected by the COVID-19
Based on data gathered by health experts, COVID-19 causes mostly mild symptoms, particularly in infected individuals that have a strong immune system. However, the coronavirus is particularly dangerous for those who have concomitant diseases or those who have an advancing age. Patients suffering from cancer or who have other autoimmune disorders are the ones most at risk of succumbing to the disease. Several data about cancer patients were revealed. However, they are still inconclusive at this point. For young patients with inborn diseases such as cerebral palsy, little to no data exists yet. Perhaps, it would be best to learn more about Illinois cerebral palsy to get more context on the impact of the novel virus on children with debilitating diseases.
How Can WHO Help Fight COVID-19?
WHO and its contingent countries are now doubling their efforts towards developing an aggressive countermeasure that can effectively reduce the transmission rate of the debilitating coronavirus. Ideally, the WHO should be the primary source of legitimate and relevant information regarding the disease. At this point, health agencies must fight two types of virus: the COVID-19 coronavirus and malicious fake news.
What Can People Do to Combat the Disease?
First, people must understand that they need to do their part – that they are stakeholders and vital in the fight against the disease. They should get reliable information from agencies like WHO and the Centres for Disease Control Prevention (CDC). If they share this information, they have to make sure that it is relevant and free from any malicious intent. Similarly, they must also heed the call for social distancing and proper hygiene.
Coronavirus can be defeated if everyone across the globe will work together. In due time, this virus would fade, and people can once again go back to their routine.