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WHO director says the world 'cannot go back to the way things were,' even if a vaccine is found

He also said the coronavirus gave us a glimpse of a cleaner, less polluted world

Image Source: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The director of the World Health Organization said that the world would not go back to the way it was before the coronavirus, even if a vaccine is found to combat the pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the comments in a media briefing on Friday. He noted that several countries had seen cases fall only to see a second wave hit months later.

"Progress does not mean victory," said Tedros.

"Even if we do have a vaccine, it wouldn't end the pandemic on its own. We must all learn to manage and control this virus using the tools we have now, and make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed to keep ourselves and each other safe," he continued later in his speech.

"Lockdowns are not a long term solution"

"So-called lockdowns enabled many countries to suppress transmission and take the pressure off their health systems," Tedros said.

"But lockdowns are not a long term solution for any country. We do not need to choose between lives and livelihoods or between health and the economy. That's false choice. On the contrary, the pandemic is a reminder that health and the economy are inseparable," he continued.

"WHO is committed to working with all countries to move into a new stage of opening their economies, societies, schools, and businesses safely. To do that, every single person must be involved. Every single person can make a difference. Every person, family, community and nation must make their own decisions based on the level of risk where they live," he added.

Climate change

Tedros explained that local governments can best assess what risk they are facing and what steps to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

"At the same time, we will not, we cannot, go back to the way things were," he continued.

"Throughout history, outbreaks and pandemics have changed economies and societies, this one will be no different," Tedros added.

"In particular, the pandemic has given new impetus to the need to accelerate efforts to respond to climate change," he said. "The pandemic has given us a glimpse of our world as it could be, cleaner skies and rivers."

The WHO has been criticized for evidence that they were complicit in helping China hide the coronavirus during the early stages of the pandemic. Tedros himself has been accused of being too closely tied to China, with some critics noting that the country aided his ascendance to the directorship of WHO.

Here's part of the comments from the WHO director:

WHO: The pandemic is a reminder that health and the economy are inseparable www.youtube.com

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