WHO Warns COVID-19 is 'still a killer virus'

Cheryl Sanders
June 2, 2020

"The result was unambiguous: an extremely significant difference between the viral load of patients admitted in March compared to those admitted last month", Zangrillo told Reuters.

The head of the Italian National Health Council, Franco Locatelli, said he was "puzzled" by Zangrillo's comments.

The Health Ministry said Monday there were 178 confirmed new COVID-19 cases since Sunday evening, raising to 233,197 the total number of known coronavirus cases in the nation.

Martin Hibberd, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "In a situation where the number of severe cases is decreasing, there may be time to start observing people with less severe symptoms, giving the impression of that the virus is changing".

Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza admitted on Sunday that the government's decision to allow travel between Italian regions starting on Wednesday is not "at zero risk" as the coronavirus pandemic is still a reality.

A contact-tracing app to help the country avoid a virus relapse was being launched Monday in four of the country's 20 regions, with others soon to follow.

Lombardy in the north remains the most affected region, with 16,131 deaths and 89,018 cases, but it recorded only 50 new cases on Monday from a population of around 10 million. "That is not the case at all", said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's emergencies program, at a press conference in Geneva.

Ryan, an expert epidemiologist, spelled out the dangers in believing that the virus is becoming less potent. 'We need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that, all of a sudden, the virus, by its own volition, has now made a decision to be less pathogenic. Advertisement Zangrillo urged Giuseppe Conte's Italian government to continue lifting lockdown measures, claiming that warnings of a potential second wave of the virus were creating unnecessary fear in Italy.

"To have no risk at all, we would have had to maintain a total lockdown for months, but the country would have not been able to stand it", he said.

'It may, in some ways, have something to do with the dose and length of intensity of exposure, the Irishman explained.

"The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today", Bassetti told an Italian news agency, adding that "it is clear that today the COVID-19 disease is different". Whilst weakening of the virus by mutations is theoretically attainable, it's not one thing we must always count on and any claims of this nature would must be verified in a extra systematic approach.

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