LONDON —The head of the World Health Organization says he hopes the world can end the coronavirus pandemic in less than two years — less time than it took for the 1918 flu pandemic to be stopped.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described COVID-19 as a “once-in-a-century health crisis” and said that while globalization had allowed the virus to spread quicker than the flu did in 1918, there was also now the technology to stop it that hadn’t been available a century ago.
“We hope to finish this pandemic (in) less than two years, especially if we can pool our efforts,” he said during a press briefing on Friday.
WHO’s emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan noted that the 1918 pandemic hit the globe in three distinct waves and that the second wave, which started during the fall of 1918, was the most devastating. But he said it didn’t appear COVID-19 was following the same pattern.
“This virus is not displaying a similar wave-like pattern,” he said. “When the virus is not under control, it jumps straight back up.” Ryan said that while pandemic viruses often settle into a seasonal pattern, that didn’t appear to be the case for the coronavirus.