Dr Mike Ryan: Covid to continue spreading 'intensely' in current conditions

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Dr Mike Ryan: Covid To Continue Spreading 'Intensely' In Current Conditions Dr Mike Ryan: Covid To Continue Spreading 'Intensely' In Current Conditions
The Irish doctor said it should not be viewed as inevitable that everyone will get Covid-19. Photo: Getty Images.
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Covid-19 will continue to spread "intensely" as societies return to the social mixing and mobility of a pre-pandemic period, Dr Mike Ryan has said.

The Irish doctor and emergency director at the World Health Organisation (WHO) highlighted Northern Ireland as one region where the virus has surged, with close to 2,000 cases reported there today.

“We are back to pre-pandemic levels of social mixing,” Dr Ryan said on Wednesday.

“If you look at mobility patterns, people are now in Europe, even in the midst of a very, very strong resurgence in cases, and even in the midst of some of those countries under huge pressure in their health systems, we’re seeing pre-pandemic levels of social mixing, gathering and many other things.

“The reality is the virus will continue to transmit intensely in that environment.”

Inevitable

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Dr Ryan said it should not be viewed as inevitable that everyone will get Covid-19.

A number of health experts have suggested it is likely that everyone will be infected by the coronavirus eventually, due to the transmissibility of the Delta variant.

Dr Ryan cautioned that health officials should not rely on immunity from infection as a way of stopping the spread.

“All countries remain vulnerable to high levels of disease transmission and we should be continuing to do what we can to reduce exposure, and not just rely on the virus to infect the uninfected, as a means of achieving a public health outcome,” he said.

We are concerned about a false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic

Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic amid a "false sense of security" over the protection offered by vaccines, World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meanwhile said.

Last week, more than 60 per cent of all reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 globally were in Europe, Mr Tedros told a news conference.

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"In many countries and communities, we are concerned about a false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic, and that people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions," he said.

Vaccination, wearing masks and social distancing remain key to halting transmission, WHO officials said.

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said that it was important to take measures during the holiday period, adding: "Social measures do not mean lockdowns."

-Additional reporting by Reuters.

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