WHO

The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that weekly coronavirus case numbers are rising in Europe at a higher rate than during the pandemic's peak in March.

At a virtual news conference, Dr. Hans Kluge, regional director of WHO in Europe, warned, "We do have a very serious situation unfolding before us."

"Weekly cases have exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," he said. "Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients."

Three new studies strongly support using inexpensive and widely available drugs to treat people who are seriously ill with COVID-19. The drugs are steroids, and the research published Wednesday confirms they are proving to be the most effective treatment found to date.

The Trump administration says the U.S. will not participate in a global push to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, in part because the effort is led by the World Health Organization, which the White House describes as "corrupt" and has accused of initially aiding China in covering up the scope of the pandemic.

Urging countries to join a global vaccine agreement, the head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday reiterated concerns that, once developed, drugs to prevent COVID-19 might be hoarded by some countries at the expense of others.

Speaking in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a call to avoid "vaccine nationalism" by joining the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility – a pact aimed at ensuring access to such drugs around the world.

Despite progress made on a vaccine against COVID-19, "there's no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be," the World Health Organization's director-general warned on Monday.

The World Health Organization has issued a new scientific brief that summarizes what's known about the different ways the coronavirus can transmit.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the world – and humanity is failing because of a lack of leadership and unity, the head of the World Health Organization declared in a passionate speech Thursday.

The U.S. has sent a letter officially notifying the United Nations that it is leaving the World Health Organization, starting the formal process of withdrawal that President Trump first threatened in April when he halted funding to WHO.

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The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up, and he criticized governments that have failed to establish reliable contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over."

"Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.

“The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it’s the lack of global solidarity and global leadership,” says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general.
World Health Organization

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the coronavirus pandemic “is still accelerating” around the globe. 

vaccine being injected into arm
Associated Press

The chief scientist at the World Health Organization says the agency hopes there will be about 2 billion doses of a vaccine against COVID-19 by the end of next year that would be reserved for “priority populations.”

Updated on June 10 at 1:36 p.m.

This week, the matter of asymptomatic transmission of the novel coronavirus has caused much confusion — and sparked a lively debate on Twitter.

It started Monday when the World Health Organization discussed the current understanding of asymptomatic transmission at a press conference.

("Asymptomatic" refers to people who are infected by the virus but never develop any symptoms.)

WHO says people without symptoms probably account for about 6 percent of spread of the coronavirus, at most.
iStock

The World Health Organization says it still believes the spread of the coronavirus from people without symptoms is “rare,” despite warnings from numerous experts worldwide that such transmission likely explains why the pandemic has been so hard to contain. 

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization took time at its daily press conference to address another pressing issue: the wave of protests against police violence and racial injustice. The demonstrations began in the U.S. when George Floyd died on May 25 after a police officer had pressed a knee into his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while detaining him in Minneapolis.

The protests are now spreading around the world to Europe, Africa and other regions.

Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately,” and said its work and commitment to transparency were “very impressive, and beyond words.”

The world's top health officials are warning that there could be a "second peak" of coronavirus infections during the current outbreak, separate from a second wave expected in the fall. As cases decline, officials worry that some countries are lifting restrictions too quickly — the U.S. among them.

What's key to understanding the different patterns emerging around the globe is recognizing that "this coronavirus is not the flu," said Dr. Margaret Harris, a member of the World Health Organization's coronavirus response team.

As the world seeks to join together to bring the novel coronavirus under control, President Trump has sent a letter to the World Health Organization threatening that the U.S. will halt all funding and consider leaving the agency, pending an assessment of its response to COVID-19.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the World Health Organization failed in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and that it "cost many lives," delivering a sharp criticism of the WHO at the organization's annual meeting Monday.

"We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed. And that failure cost many lives," Azar said at the World Health Assembly, reiterating President Trump's complaints about the WHO.

Trump Ends U.S. Aid To WHO, Says Not Enough Done To Stop Virus

Apr 15, 2020
Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

The secretary-general of the United Nations says now isn't the time for the U.S. to withhold financial support from the U.N. health agency, the World Health Organization.

Wikimedia Commons

For video game addicts, it might soon be "game over."

In its latest revision to a disease classification manual, the World Health Organization said Monday that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition. 

Vaccine progress is stalling.

That's the message from a new report issued by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The report focuses on the DTP vaccine — the essential vaccine that protects kids against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) and that was first licensed in 1949.

The World Health Organization for the first time has issued a list of the top 12 "priority pathogens." They're disease-causing bacteria that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, says WHO. Yet the development of new antibiotics to treat them has slowed to a crawl.

"We are fast running out of treatment options," says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's assistant director-general for Health Systems, in a statement.

Felipe Dana/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

The World Health Organization says women who live in areas where Zika is spreading should consider delaying pregnancy, since there's no other sure way to avoid the virus' devastating birth defects.

The U.N. health agency says sexual transmission of Zika is more common than first thought. It is updating its advice to women who have been in areas hit by the virus, telling them to wait even longer to conceive.