The coronavirus pandemic is going to get worse, the World Health Organization warned on Monday.
“Without national unity and global solidarity, trust us, the worst is yet ahead of us,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”
The virus has infected more than 2.4 million people and killed over 167,000.
WHO’s warning comes as nations like Germany and Norway have started easing restrictions put in place to fight the outbreak.
Tedros didn’t go into details about what could lie ahead, but he did point to politics as a reason for potentially worsening conditions. Tedros said.
“It’s the political problem that may fuel further this pandemic,”
Pushing politics amid the pandemic “is like playing with fire,” he added.
WHO has been thrown into a political battle with President Donald Trump, who has accused the organization of being “China-centric” and of allowing Beijing to spread misinformation during the early days of the outbreak. Trump last week put a hold on U.S. funding contributions to WHO and has singled out the group for criticism during his daily press briefings.
Trump said his administration will conduct a review to assess the organization’s “role in mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
Tedros on Monday said that the WHO hasn’t hidden anything from the U.S. “from Day One.” Keeping secrets is dangerous and a threat to public health, he added.
For WHO, it’s open,” Tedros said.
“We don’t hide anything. … We want all countries to get the same message immediately because that helps countries to prepare well and to prepare quickly.”
Tedros last week said he regrets Trump’s decision and that WHO is assessing how it will affect funding.