(ORDO NEWS) — The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it recorded a new record number of cases of COVID-19 per day, and humanity is approaching a “tragic milestone” of 5 million infected.
UN chief Tedros Adhan Gebreyesus said Tuesday that “106,000 cases have been reported to WHO – the largest in one day since the outbreak” in December.
WHO is also struggling with the ultimatum of US President Donald Trump’s reform, which provided the organization with 30 days to correct its activities, otherwise its largest sponsor will freeze its funding and will consider abandoning it altogether.
On Tuesday, 106,662 confirmed cases from around the world were reported to WHO.
New numbers came after states around the world dramatically increased their testing programs.
The pandemic is still ongoing.
“We still have a long way to go,” Tedros said at a virtual press conference when his agency warned of rising morbidity in poorer countries.
Since the outbreak in China last December, more than 4.9 million cases of the new coronavirus have been reported , according to official figures.
WHO Director of Emergency Management Michael Ryan said the 5 million mark would be a “tragic milestone”.
Tedros added: “We are very concerned about the growing number of cases in low- and middle-income countries.”
According to AFP, more than 325,000 people died.
The annual meeting of WHO Member States agreed on Tuesday to conduct an independent audit of the response to the spread of coronavirus, a UN agency amid growing US criticism of the pandemic.
Trump later released a letter on Tuesday that he sent to Tedros saying that if WHO does not make “significant significant improvements” within 30 days, he will forever freeze the organization’s funding and renegotiate US membership.
The United States is the largest donor to the WHO budget and has already suspended funding, accusing the organization of severely mismanaging and hiding information about the spread of the virus.
Responding to an ultimatum, Tedros said only: “We have received a letter and are studying it.”
WHO agreed that an “impartial, independent and comprehensive assessment” of its actions and their timing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic should be carried out “as early as possible”.
Asked when this could happen, Tedros said: “When all the necessary conditions are really met.”
On Monday, Trump made an unexpected announcement that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that, according to his own medical experts, is not suitable for fighting the new coronavirus.
And on Wednesday, the Brazilian Ministry of Health recommended using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat even mild cases of COVID-19, the treatment President Jair Bolsonaro insisted on, despite the lack of convincing evidence of their effectiveness.
Michael Ryan emphasized: “So far, it has been discovered that hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating or preventing COVID-19.”
These two drugs are among the few participating in WHO’s coordinated clinical trials to find effective treatments for this disease. About 3,000 patients are participating in trials in 320 hospitals in 17 countries.
“Like WHO, we would recommend that these drugs be reserved for use in such trials,” Ryan said.
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