The coronavirus is continuing to increase around the globe, noting that the spike in cases over the last month and a half means there could be a spike in deaths, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official said Tuesday.
“In April and May, we were dealing with 100,000 cases a day,” Dr. Michael Ryan said during a Tuesday press briefing. “Today we’re dealing with 200,000 a day.”
“What we’ve seen during the month of June is an acceleration in the number of cases, what hasn’t accelerated with that yet, are the number of deaths.”
Ryan said that coronavirus related deaths appear to be stable, but he warned this could be due to the amount of “lag time” it takes for virus to run its course.
“We’ve only really experienced this rapid increase in cases over the last five to six weeks,” Ryan said. “So I don’t think it should be a surprise if the deaths start to rise again.”
Clinical patient care is believed to also be a factor contributing to the reduced number of deaths, but Ryan said that the significant jump in cases is not simply due to the increase in testing.
“This epidemic is accelerating,” Ryan said Tuesday.
The United States saw spikes in coronavirus cases starting in June, forcing some states to rethink their plans to reopen their economies, as the nation surpassed 130,000 deaths and has reported nearly 3 million cases.
“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in Livestream on social media Monday.
“Rather than looking at the public health effort versus economic opening as if they were opposing forces…we should use the public health effort as a vehicle and a pathway to get to safe reopening,” Fauci said.
The Trump administration submitted a formal notice of withdrawal from the WHO Tuesday, a move the president has been threatening since May.
The announcement has angered some U.S. lawmakers
“To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone,” he added.
President Trump has been highly critical of the WHO and their handling of what he has called pro-China bias after the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China in December.
A WHO spokesperson said that they are also monitoring China’s handling of a recent outbreak of the bubonic plague and that it is being “well managed.”
“At the moment, we are not considering it high risk, but we’re watching it, monitoring it carefully,” spokeswoman Margaret Harris said Tuesday.
China says it has largely eradicated the plague, but cases are occasionally still reported. The most recent case was reported Sunday from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Four other cases were reported in November.
The plague can be fatal in 90 percent of patients if not treated with antibiotics.
“[The] bubonic plague has been with us and is always with us, for centuries,” Harris said. “We are looking at the case numbers in China. It’s being well managed.”
The United States’ withdrawal from the WHO will go into effect July 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.