Covid full of nasty surprises and should not be treated like the flu, WHO says

Covid-19 should not be likened to the flu, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

The global health body said that governments around the world “should not suggest to people that the data have suddenly changed, or the virus has suddenly got incredibly weak”.

Dr David Nabarro the WHO’s special envoy for Covid-19, said that the “end was in sight” but said that Europe was only “passing the halfway mark in a marathon”.

PA Graphics

Asked about remarks that Covid-19 should be treated like the flu, Dr Nabarro told Sky News: “I keep wondering what the people who make these amazing predictions know that I and my colleagues in the World Health Organisation don’t know.

“You see, what people are seeing from around the world and reporting to the WHO is this is still a very, very dangerous virus, especially for people who have not been vaccinated and who’ve not been exposed to it before.

“It can also mutate and form variants and we’ve seen several but we know there are more not far away.

“So quite honestly, we are not saying that this should be considered to be like flu or indeed like anything else.

“It’s a new virus, and we must go on treating it as though it is full of surprises, very nasty and rather cunning.”

He told the broadcaster: “All governments everywhere should not suggest to people that the data have suddenly changed, or the viruses suddenly got incredibly weak.

“Governments have got to set the direction and not shy away from that.

“So all I’m asking every leader in the world to do is to help everybody stay focused on the job which is keeping this virus at bay, preventing people from getting infected if at all possible, and making certain that we are well prepared to deal with further surges as they come.”

But he said that the end of Europe’s battle with Covid-19 was “in sight”.

“The end is in sight, but how long is it going to take to get there? What sort of difficulties will we face on the way? Those are the questions that none of us can answer because this virus continues to give us challenges and surprises.”

He added: “It’s as though we’re just passing the halfway mark in a marathon and we can see that yes, there is an end and fast runners are getting through ahead of us.

“But we’ve still got a long, long way to trudge and it’s going to be tough.”

Last week Boris Johnson signalled his intention to start treating Covid-19 more like flu, telling MPs: “There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

“As Covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.”

And Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that “we need to learn to live with Covid-19”.

He told Sky News: “Sadly people die of flu as well, in a bad flu year you can sadly lose about 20,000 lives but we don’t shut down our entire country and put in place lots of restrictions to deal with it. We need to continue with our lives with sensible, appropriate and proportionate measures.”


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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