“Our world must today regret an atrocious figure: the loss of a million lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, “said the General secretary of the United Nations referring to the milestone reached on Monday, nine months after the appearance of the coronavirus.
To that amount are added more than 32 million cases of infected people in virtually the entire world.
“The amount it’s creepy. And we must never lose sight of each of the individual lives that it encompasses, ”said António Guterres in an emotional video message.
The UN leader highlighted the pain of families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 – a disease that he described as “Ruthless”– without even being able to say goodbye.
“The risk of infection has kept families away from the bed of these patients and, often, it has not been possible to mourn or celebrate the lives of these people,” he said.
In his message, Guterres warned that still the end of the virus’s spread is not in sightNor of the devastating consequences it has on the economy and societies, as well as on the daily lives of all people.
A challenge that can be overcome
However, he said the world can rise to the challenge if it learns from mistakes.
He stressed that a responsible leadership that is based on scientific knowledge and, above all, on cooperation.
“Let us never forget that our future depends on solidarity: as united people and as united nations ”, he stressed.
The Secretary General insisted that when it exists, the vaccine against COVID-19 must be a public good affordable for everyone.
Meanwhile – he added – the task of the population is to do everything possible to save lives by following the basic instructions of maintaining physical distance, using the mask and washing their hands.
It’s never too late
The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed with Guterres by ensuring that it is not too late to reverse the course of the pandemic.
In an opinion article published in the English press, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus considered that in the midst of the suffering that the world lives there are sparks of hope for the future.
Among those encouraging signs, he cited the development of diagnostic tests, the identification of corticosteroid treatments to reduce mortality in severe COVID-19 cases, and the vaccine projects which are in the final phase of testing.
He added that many countries have responded with actions that involve the entire government and society and that, with the appropriate infrastructure, have been able to contain the outbreaks in a timely manner, before the transmission got out of his control.
Tedros mentioned Thailand, Italy and China as some examples of responses that have worked.
With regard to the American continent, he pointed out that although it is the most affected region, Uruguay has reported the lowest number of cases and deaths in absolute and relative terms.
And this is not accidental. Uruguay has one of the strongest health systems and resilient in Latin America, achieved with a sustainable investment based on political consensus that prioritizes public health ”, he pointed out.
He added that the key lesson is the same for everyone: no matter the point of the pandemic a country finds itself in, “it is never too late to change course.”
In this sense, reiterated some essential measures that all countries, communities and individuals must take: avoid crowds and closed spaces; protect vulnerable groups; maintain physical distance; wash your hands regularly; wear a mask; and identify, isolate, test, and track cases.