Disease experts warn we're not free of COVID-19: 'The world needs a reality check'
July 19, 2021
Maria Van Kerkhove, a World Health Organization epidemiologist, was in her Geneva office last weekend preparing for a keynote address when a simple phrase came to mind. She had been pondering the dismaying rise in coronavirus infections globally during the previous three weeks, reversing promising trends of late spring. The surge came as people across much of the Northern Hemisphere were moving around again in a suddenly freewheeling summer - as if the pandemic were over.
She wrote in her notebook: "The world needs a reality check."
Van Kerkhove's subsequent comments on Twitter pointing out the lack of social distancing drew predictable flak from the social media trolls, something she has gotten used to in the past year and a half. But she is not an outlier. Around the world, scientists and public health officials fear that the world's protracted battle against the coronavirus is at a delicate and dangerous moment.