WHO says Covid-19 pandemic still just one big continuous wave

GENEVA, 29 July 2020:

The new coronavirus is not seasonal and does not occur in waves, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

Covid-19 is not affected by cold temperatures like the seasonal flu nor by heat, as demonstrated by the high temperatures in the US and Brazil – the two worst-affected countries.

The WHO said the six-month length of the pandemic so far shows that the season does not affect the transmission of the virus.

Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the organistion, said although other respiratory viruses occur in seasonal waves – this is not the case with Covid.

“This one is behaving differently. This one is one where we have to be aware, and it is learning about us as we’re learning about it. The most intense and the highest numbers are being experienced in the USA.

“They are in the middle of summer. Also, Brazil, they are an equatorial country.”

Harris said social distancing is one of the most important tools to stopping infections. “It’s a virus that likes all weather. But what it particularly likes is jumping from one person to another when we come in close contact, so let’s not give it that opportunity.”

The current epicentre of the pandemic is in the Americas and South America is in the middle of winter, fuelling fears the coronavirus and the flu may be circulating at the same time.

“We also have seen large outbreaks and very warm equatorial countries like the Philippines. So, each season does not seem to be affecting the transmission of this virus currently,” Harris said.

She added that the virus has not been occurring in waves, as with other contagions.

“It’s going to be one big wave, it’s going to go up and down a bit. Now the best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.

“But at the moment, first, second, third wave, these things don’t really make sense.”

Harris also highlighted the cost of Covid tests in some countries and the fact that some people have to pay unless their condition is serious or they have been admitted to hospital.

She cited as an example the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world where a test costs US$30, and Mexico, where a molecular diagnostic test can cost up to US$500.

The WHO has urged governments to make testings as accessible as possible to the population.