WHO emergencies chief says novel coronavirus may be here to stay

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Workers wearing personal protective equipment perform drive-up COVID-19 testing administered from a car at Mend Urgent Care testing site for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

(Associated Press) — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said it’s possible the new coronavirus may be here to stay, warning it’s impossible to predict when the pandemic might be controlled.

“This virus may never go away,” Dr. Michael Ryan said in a news briefing on Wednesday. He said that the number of people infected by COVID-19 so far is relatively low.

Without a vaccine, he said it could take years for the population to build up sufficient levels of immunity to it.

“I think it’s important to put this on the table,” he said.

“This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities,” he said, noting that other previously novel diseases such as HIV have never disappeared, but that effective treatments have been developed to allow people to live with the disease. (…)

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