‘Young People Are Not Invisible To Coronavirus’ WHO Director General



During his latest press briefing to update the World on his Organisation’s response to Covid-19 pandemic on Friday 20th March 2020, Dr. Tedro said his message to young people is that they are not invincible to the Corona Virus.

The WHO Head said the disease can put young people in hospital for weeks or even kill them.

“Even if you do not get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else,” he said. He however expressed gratitude that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus; that solidarity is the key to defeating COVID-19 and that there is solidarity between countries which should also continue between all other age groups.

The WHO Head said in his press update that COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone on daily basis; that more than 210,000 cases have now been reported to his Organisation and more than 9,000 people have lost their lives.

He cited that every loss of life is a tragedy and underscores the success registered on the COVID-19 pandemic; that China for the first time did not register a new case and added that the Chinese City of Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the World; that even the most severe situations can be turned around.

The WHO Head said every day, they are learning more about the virus and the disease it causes; that one of the things they are learning is that although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared.

According to the WHO Head, data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 years make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

“We have said from the beginning that our greatest concern is the impact this virus can have if it gains a foothold in countries with weaker health systems, or with vulnerable populations,” he stated; that this concern has now become very real and urgent; that they know as an organization that if this disease takes foothold in these countries, there could be significant sickness and loss of life. He said unlike any pandemic in history, it is the people who have the power to change the way it is spread. The WHO Head said the Organization is working actively to support all countries especially those that need our support the most and gave some guidelines that people can use.

The WHO Head recommended that people should eat healthy and nutritious diets which help the body’s immune system to function properly; limit or stop alcohol consumption and to avoid fizzy and sugary drinks; that smoking can increase the risk of developing severe disease if one becomes infected with COVID-19 and finally the WHO Head recommended 30 minutes of physical activity for adults and one hour for children, daily.

He advised that only local or national guidelines should allow people go outside for a walk; run or a ride, and to keep safe distance from others; that if one cannot leave the confinement of a house, one should find an exercise video online; dance to music; do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs; that if one works from home, one should make sure not to sit in the same position for long periods, but to get up and take a 3-minute break every 30 minutes. He said the WHO will be providing more advice on how to stay healthy at home in the coming days and weeks.

The WHO Head strongly urged everybody to look after their mental health; that it is normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. But that during such situations, one should talk to people they know and trust, can help; that supporting other people in the community can help one as much as it does to others; that people should check in on neighbors, families and friends because compassion is one of the medicines to fight the pandemic.