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WHO Says 10% of World’s Population May Have Had Covid, Vast Majority at Risk

The World Health Organization has said one in 10 people around the world may have contracted Covid-19, far more than the current tally of more than 35 million. Speaking to

Dr. Michael Ryan

The World Health Organization has said one in 10 people around the world may have contracted Covid-19, far more than the current tally of more than 35 million.

Speaking to a special session of the WHO’s 34-member executive board focusing on COVID-19, Dr. Michael Ryan said the figures vary from urban to rural, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.”

Just over 35m people have been confirmed as being infected with coronavirus but the WHO’s estimate puts the true figure at closer to 800m. Experts have long said the real number of cases would exceed those confirmed.

“Our current best estimates tell us that about 10% of the global population may have been infected by this virus. This varies depending on country. It varies from urban to rural. It varies between different groups. But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk. We know the pandemic will continue to evolve but we also know we have the tools that work to suppress transmission.”

Calling for solidarity and firm leadership from countries, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been marked differences in the number of cases around the world.

“Although all countries have been affected by this virus, we must remember that this is an uneven pandemic. Ten countries account for 70% of all reported cases and deaths and just three countries account for half,” he said.

More than one million people have died from the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. The United States, India and Brazil have seen the most infections and deaths.

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