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FULL TRANSCRIPT: WHO Press Briefing COVID-19 – March 20, 2020 transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your video to text with Sonix.
FULL TRANSCRIPT: WHO Press Briefing COVID-19 – March 20, 2020 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your video to text. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular video file formats.
For the rest of the world that even the most severe situation can be turned around. Of course we must exercise caution. The situation can be worse, but the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this virus give hope and courage to the rest of the world. Every day we are learning more about this virus and the disease it cause. One of the things we are learning is that although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization. Today I have a message for young people. You're not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you even if you don't get sick. The choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. I'm grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus. As I keep saying, solidarity is the key to defeating coveted 19 solidarity between countries, but also between age groups. Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity, solidarity, solidarity.
We have said from the beginning that our greatest concern is the impact this virus could have if it gains a foothold in countries with weaker health systems or with vulnerable populations. That concern has now become very real and urgent. We know that if this disease takes hold in these countries, there could be significant sickness and loss of life. But that's not inevitable. Unlike any pandemic in history, we have the power to change the way this God W.H.O. is working actively to support all countries and especially those that need our support the most. As you know, the collapse of the market for personal protective equipment has created extreme difficulties in ensuring health workers have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. This is an area of key concern for us. We have now identified some producers in China who have agreed to supply W.H.O.. We are currently finalizing the arrangements and coordinating shipments so we can reveal our warehouse to ship BP to whomever needs it most. Our aim is to build a pipeline to ensure continuity of supply with support from our partners, governments and the private sector. I'm grateful to Jack Ma and his foundation as well as aleko Angotti for their willingness to help provide essential supplies to countries in need. To support our call to test every suspected case. We're also working hard to increase the global supply of diagnostic kits. There are many companies globally that produce diagnostic kits, but W.H.O. can only buy or recommend kits that have been evaluated independently to ensure their quality. So we have worked with Find the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics to contract additional labs to evaluate new diagnostics. In parallel, we are working with companies to secure the supply and equitable distribution of these tests, and we are also working with companies to increase production of the other products needed to perform the tests from the swabs used to take samples to the large machines needed to process them.
We're very grateful for the way the private sector has stepped up to lend its support to the global response. Just in the past few days, I have spoken with the International Chamber of Commerce with many CEOs through the World Economic Forum and with the B20 group of business leaders from the G20 countries. We understand the heavy financial toll this pandemic is taking on businesses and the global economy. We are encouraged by the solidarity and generosity of business leaders to use their resources, experience and networks to improve the availability of supplies, communicate reliable information and protect their staff and customers. And we are also encouraged that countries around the world continue to support the global response. We thank Coed for its contribution of 40 million US dollars in addition to increasing access to masks, gloves, gowns and tests. We are also increasing access to the evidence based technical guidance. Countries and health workers need to save lives. W.H.O. has published guidelines for health ministers, health system administrators and other decision makers to help them provide lifesaving treatment. As health systems are challenged without compromising the safety of health workers, the guidelines detail actions all countries can take to provide care for patients, regardless of how many cases they have. They also outline specific actions to prepare health systems according to each of the four CS. No cases, sporadic cases, clusters of cases and community transmission. These guidelines provide a wealth of practical information on screening and triage, referral staff supplies, standard standard of care, community engagement and more.
We encourage all countries to use this and other many other guidelines which are all available on the W.H.O. Web site. But we are not only advising countries. We also have advice for individuals around the world, especially those who are now adjusting to a new reality. We know that for many people, life is changing dramatically. My family is no different. My daughter is now taking her classes online from home because her school is closed. During this difficult time, it's important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long term, it will also help you fight colvard. If you get it first, eat a healthy and nutritious diet which helps your immune system to function properly. Second, limit your alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks. CERD don't smoke. Smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease. If you become infected with Corbitt 19 fourth exercise W.H.O. recommends 30 minutes of physical active, a activity a day for adults and one hour a day for children.
If your local or national guidelines allow it, go outside for a walk around or a ride and keep a safe distance from others. If you can't leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga or walk up and down the stairs. If you'd working at home, make sure you don't sit in the same position for long periods. Get up and take a three minutes break every 30 minutes. We will be providing more advice on how to stay healthy at home in the coming days and weeks. Fifth, look after your mental health. It's normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. Talking to people you know and trust can help. Supporting other people in your community can help you as much as it does.
And check on your neighbors, family and friends.
Compassion is a medicine.
Listen to music. Read a book or play a game. And try not to read or watch too much news. If it makes you anxious. Get your information from reliable sources once or twice a day to increase access to reliable information. W.H.O. has worked with what's up and Facebook to launch a new W.H.O. health alert messaging service. This service will provide the latest news and information on Kivett 19, including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself. The Hildes Alert Service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week. To access it, send us a word. Hi to the following number on what's up? 0 0 4 1 7 9 8 9 3 1 8 9 2. We will make this information on our website later today. Corvin, 19, is taking so much from us, but it's also giving us something special, the opportunity to come together as one humanity, to work together, to learn together, to grow together. I thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Tedros. Ah, no. Open the floor to questions. Well, we don't have a floor, but I'll open the virtual world to questions.
And first in the very long queue is to new from Gene Oua, too. Can we please have your question?
All right. Do you hear me?
Oh, yes, we hear you very well.
Hi, is you from John from one news agency. Almost a week from now, G20 countries will be had a meeting to discuss the Kobe 19 and the impact on a global economy. My question is now, China has reported no new cases since yesterday. So what does it mean? What does it mean for China? What does that mean for the rest of the world? And what what are the difficulties that lie ahead for China in combating this global pandemic? Thank you.
I think the simple message accusing the director general's comment is it's a message of hope.
It's a message that this virus can be suppressed. We can break chains of transmission. It takes a huge effort. It takes in all of society effort. It takes coordination, it takes solidarity, it takes activated communities, it takes brave health workers. It takes supply chains that work. It takes commitment. And if it's done, this virus can be turned around. Other countries are showing the same thing and not by doing exactly the same thing that they're achieving the end by mixing and matching and creating a comprehensive strategy that's matched to the threat they face and to the context in which they're working. So I think there's a message of hope there from China. And that's a message of hope to many countries around the world who are very low numbers of cases right now and who can turn this virus back. We've seen the damage this virus is doing in health systems in a number of countries, but we've also seen that this virus can be pushed back. So that's the I suppose, the the implication that we see for for this. But it's going to take time. It's going to take effort and it's going to take solidarity and it's going to take coordination at community level, government level, at international level to make this happen. There wasn't a specific question.
Thank you. Thank you very much. I'll now hand it over to Badia from some notes in Iran.
Hello, can you hear me now?
Please go ahead. I asked this question before and I walked away with purpose more today.
What was the very first day of spring in Northern Hemisphere Spring? I Kanaks many people in Central Asia, Western Asia. They are celebrating it as a sign of renewal, a new beginning.
In this climate, what will be done? But you airshows message to people who are celebrating Nowruz, especially Iranians who are among people struggling the most with the outbreak of Coheed, 19.
Yeah, Hibernia, and you had a safe trip back to Iran.
We missed you in Geneva. The I think, you know, it's celebrations and gatherings, particularly religious gatherings, the ones that celebrate renewal or are obviously very important, but we may need to change the way we celebrate things.
For now and in countries like Iran and it's very clear from the government that in Iran we have to separate people physically so we don't transfer disease and mass gatherings, particularly mass gatherings, to bring people from far away to one place and they mix and then they go again far away. And that's very often religious gatherings. They can not only amplify the disease, but they can disseminate the disease very far away from the center so they can be very, very, very dangerous in terms of epidemic management. We see that the authorities in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, how careful they have to be every year with the harsh because of the health risks. And that's managed extremely well. But in this particular case, with this virus, with this seriousness, I think we need to heed the instructions from the government in Iran.
We need to heed the structures all around the Middle East that the gatherings of a certain size and there are differences in each country need to be avoided. We will support the government's efforts on that. But as we've seen and it's not just in Iran, in Iran, where we might have religious gatherings, we have other gatherings around the world, young people gathering, as the DG has said, and other people coming together. So whatever reasons we have to come together and that can be very good reasons.
We need to listen to local authorities. We need to listen to national authorities. And if national authorities believe that those gatherings represent a risk to those individuals, but more importantly to the vulnerable people, they will go to visit after the gathering. Then I think we really do have to take it upon our own personal responsibility. This is not about the responsibility of government. This is about each individual making a decision to protect themselves and protect others. We shouldn't always have to have a government telling us to do that. This is about personal responsibility.
But in the case of mass gatherings, in the context of countries like Iran, I think we need to be exceptionally careful at this point and we need to be very, very careful not to bring too many people together too closely at any one time.
But if I can just add, you may have heard us use the phrase physical distancing instead of social distancing. And one of the things that you know to highlight and what Mike was saying about keeping a physical distance from people so that we can prevent the virus from transmitting to one another, that's absolutely essential. But it doesn't mean that socially we have to disconnect from our loved ones, from our family. Technology right now has advanced so great that that we can keep connected in many ways without actually physically being in the same room or physically being in the same space with people. So as the D.G. highlighted in his speech, a lot about this is, you know, we say social distancing. We're changing to say physical distance. And that's on purpose because we want people to still remain connected.
So find ways to do that. Find ways through the Internet and through different social social media to remain connected because your mental health. Going through this is just as important as your physical health.
Thank you. And we'll now have a question from Brazil. It's Diego from Vortex Diego. Are you on the line? If so, please go ahead.
Yes, I am. Thank you very much. I was to ask a very basic question. I mean, how central and crucial is physical distancing at this point when you have community transmission? Because there is a lot of debate going on around the world about the physical distance seeking measures. So I'd like the most accurate data and comment possible regarding the physical distancing measures of.
I think there are there are sort of a toolkit of measures that can be taken to deal with this, whereas there are public health measures that focus on containment.
And that is identifying cases, identifying their context. And the principle there is you take the case of the confirmed case and the context away from everybody else. So you separate the virus from the population when disease has reached a certain level, especially in community transmission, and it's no longer possible to identify all the cases or all of the context. Then you move to separating everybody from everybody else. You create physical distance between everybody because you don't know exactly who might have the virus. Now, if we look at that situation, that's very difficult to manage because that's costly in social terms. That's costly in economic terms. And ideally, our approach to this should be to really focus on containment measures, case finding, isolation, quarantine of contacts. And in that situation, do social distancing, are the physical distance measurements or the movement restriction mechanisms may not have to be as extreme. If you think about Singapore in its fight against scored with 19, it never closed at schools. It didn't shut down its public health system. It didn't do lockdowns, but it was absolutely committed to the concept of case investigation, cluster investigation, case isolation, quarantine of context. And it really, really, really stuck to that task. Now, that was OK because Singapore had a relatively small number of cases. So we're not criticizing in any way countries who have to take physical distance in measured. That's a necessary measure in situations where the virus is fairly widespread in communities.
But what we should hope is and this is maybe the thing that we have to be very careful with. Large scale physical distancing movement restriction are, in a sense, a temporary measure. What they do is they slow down to some extent. The spread of infection in communities and thereby take pressure off the health care system. They don't fundamentally deal with the problem of disease transmission. And if you want to get back to what countries like Korea are doing. Japan or China, Singapore and Hong Kong and others. If you want to get back to that, you really have to get back to the hard core public health measures of case finding, contact tracing, quarantine, isolation. So in some senses, we need to slow down the virus. Then we need to suppress the virus and then we need to go after the virus. And that takes different combinations of different measures. But social or physical distancing measures and movement restriction measures are very hard socially and they're very hard economically. And we need to use whatever time those measures are in place to put in place the public health architecture that can then go after the virus because lifting those measures may result in the disease returning. If you don't have in place the public health measures to deal with the virus. Maria?
Yeah, I think if if you think just very simply about what physical distancing can do, if you think of think of a large gathering or you think of such a crowded space and people are very close to one another. If you have infected individuals in that clustering of people, the opportunity for the virus to pass between people is much greater because you are physically closer to one another. What physical distancing does is just that it actually separates people out.
So think of that same cluster of people but spread out over a much larger geographic area. Just think of a drawing, you know where you're seeing a bunch of dots. Either they're very close together or they're very spread apart. If those dots are spread apart and those dots represent people and you have infected people in those areas, you remove the exposure, you remove the opportunity for that virus to pass between one person and another. But as Mike has said, and as have we have said before, social distancing, physical distancing alone is not enough. It has to be part of a much larger package of interventions.
Thank you, Maria. So now I have a question from Imogen Image in FUC. So are you on the line, Imogen?
Yeah. Can you hear me? Hi. Can you hear me, sir? Well, go ahead. Great. Yeah.
There've been some questions about the mortality rate in Europe for Italy. This is tragically really, really high. Germany so far is quite low. And there's been some questions about how the cause of death is being recorded, for example, with somebody, an individual who already had serious underlying health conditions.
Do you have any data from the different countries about how they're recording cause of death?
I don't have any specific data about how each country is recording a cause of death, whether it was associated with COBA 19 or if there were other reasons why why people died. We do know from the confirmed cases if those individuals have been reported as having recovered or who have died. We spoke about this the other day, the differences in mortality as you compare them by country. We have to be very careful about how we compare countries right now. There's a combination of factors of why we're seeing differences in mortality by country. The first is about the populations that the virus is affecting and infecting. We gave the comparison between the virus moving and older populations because we know that the virus can cause more death in older individuals as opposed to the virus circulating in younger populations where you would see less mortality. So there's there are a number of factors in which the mortality rate can can vary by different populations. And we also discussed previously about the challenges of describing mortality as an epidemic unfolds as this pandemic unfolds. Looking just at the numbers of deaths over the numbers of cases that are reported is only a snapshot and it's an incorrect snapshot of what the true mortality is because we don't know the extent of infection in the population. On the one hand, and on the other hand, there are a number of individuals who are in who are very severe, who are still in ICU, some of whom will recover and some of whom will die. So we don't have those precise numbers yet of how many will die out of those that are infected. And we still don't know the overall infection rate in the general population.
Thank you, Maria. I'm just going to ask now a question that was sent to me by email from a correspondent, a health writer in India who's been struggling to get on virtually.
Her name is my UNK bhagwat asks. India has tested a close to who has tested close to 13000 samples. W.H.O. says Test, test, test. She asks. By not scaling up the tests. Has India lost critical time?
So it's wonderful that we're seeing testing being done across countries.
We know that there are challenges associated with doing that test. We know we are working very hard across all of our regions with many different manufacturers to ensure that tests are available in countries that need them. We're working with labs across all countries to ensure that the lab capacity in each country is increasing and we're seeing many countries take additional steps to further increase that capacity.
What the DG meant when he said test, test, test was that we would like to see all we recommend that all suspect cases be tested and we recommend that all contacts that have symptoms are tested. And the reason that that is absolutely critical is that we need to know where this virus is so that we could stop the onward transmission from those who are infected to infect other people. And so by doing that, by having adequate testing and ample testing as part of your strategy, we'll help reduce this down. But that isn't enough. We know that by finding those cases, isolating cases in caring for those cases is critical quarantining of your contact so that they cannot pass that virus onward.
It's absolutely critical to stopping transmission moving between people.
Thank you, Maria. Did you want to do it? No. Okay, so now Adak to ask. Ask child shall Underland from liver R.S. on Shali You on the line.
Hello. This is a question to the D.G.. Dr. Teds also like to know how you are coping with the different press pressures you might have from member states who don't really have the same priorities or ways to fight this virus. How do you cope with the different applications coming from the larger member states?
I think for for Babli Joe, whether it's a small country or big, whether it's a rich country or poor, it's the same. We treat them the same same way and to treat, you know, all same way. The best principle is to actually be principled and to help them to give them advice or to respond to their queries based on principles. So as long as we do that, then I think I don't consider any the thing that comes from member states as pressure.
Thank you, T.J..
I've got an I got another printed question that was e-mailed to me by John Zahra Kostis on behalf of France 24 and The Lancet. What is the shortfall in the global supply of PPE and critical, say, lifesaving medical equipment and in view of the surge of cases? How much production these supplies needs to increase?
Oh. Jells, it's difficult to make an estimate, obviously, for the whole world.
We don't know the stocks that the national governments actually hold. So we can only make estimates based on the number of health workers that we would expect to be in the front line at a certain level of service. So it's making a shortfall is the difference between what you need and what you have. And right now, we don't know how much we're going to need because we don't know how fast this is going to develop. So we have projections for that. And there are different scenarios. And equally, it's difficult to know where the gap is because we're in. We don't have full knowledge of what countries actually themselves have.
We are going through a very sophisticated process of establishing and finalizing the gaps as we see them. We're asking countries what their gaps are specifically. We're doing market analysis as to what the supply chain has within us. It's safe to say that the supply chain is under huge pressure.
We're working with the pandemic supply chain network to maximize the amount of flow of PPE into a protected supply chain for PPE for health workers around the world. But it's not just the PPE itself. It's getting that PPE now to countries. We have issues with flights. We have issues with getting access. So we're going to need a HUME and architecture. In effect, we're going to need air bridges that allow us to bring staff to bring stuff to countries to help and assist them. And that stuff maybe lab tests, that stuff, maybe PPE, that stuff, maybe expertise. It's becoming increasingly difficult for us to move material around because of.
Even ships in Kabul, I think as we speak, over one hundred thousand merchant seamen are currently sitting in ports all over the world and can't either come into the country they're in or move on in the ships they're on. So we have some serious issues within the supply chain. We are, though, and it is not without hope. And indeed, you may wish to speak to this with the manufacturers in China in cooperation with the Chinese government have moved very significantly and offered to resupply our warehouses in Dubai. And we're currently finalizing the shipments of finalizing the needs. And we will obviously continue to do that. We do have a whole series of numbers, John, around what is potentially needed. And I'll be very happy to share some of them with you in the next couple of days as soon as they're validated. We're currently validating the number of lab tests. But if I give you a sense of scale, W.H.O. has distributed one and a half million lab tests around the world.
If we look forward in this epidemic, we project ourselves forward a number of months and the amount of testing that's going to be needed, we need to scale that up approximately 80 to 100 times. So it's not about doubling the availability of lab tests. It's not about trebling. It's it's about potentially increasing that 80 fold. Now, that's an extreme analysis, but that's what we need to aim for. And the director general outlined the mechanisms by which we're going to achieve that, working with the public private partnership and scaling up production and access to tests as they are needed. Equally, we estimate that there are probably, if you look again around the world, probably in excess of 26 million healthcare workers who may have to at some point engage in health care to people who potentially have Corbitt 19. That's an awful lot of health care workers to protect. You work out that those health care workers are doing a few hour shifts. They have to change PPE every time they do a shift. They have to be trained to use that PPE.
I think you can see just what the gaps are in terms of masks and gowns and gloves in that. But as I say, we're we're validating those numbers because we have to match them against what countries actually have. The greatest tragedy for me, among all the tragedies we're seeing in this outbreak is the prospect of losing part of our health workforce, that those individuals, those doctors and nurses and hygienists and others who put themselves in the frontline to care for our most vulnerable would themselves become exposed, become sick and potentially die because they don't have protective equipment. It is a it is a huge responsibility at local, national and global level that we protect the supply chains for health workers around the world and that we have solidarity between governments, between producers, manufacturers and others to ensure that our bravest get the best possible protection.
I would like to add a few issues. I think Mike had covered almost everything.
Whatever the amount we need, we are saying we have shortages. But whatever amount the shortage is without political commitment of our leaders, I don't think this shortage of supply of peoples could be addressed.
And as a result with that, because of lack of political commitment, when the supply is short, too, because the supply is short.
Some countries are closing borders and banning exports and that cannot be a solution.
And the solution we're proposing is, one, if there is political commitment and we need political commitment. We need to do three things.
With political commitment, one increased production because there is the supply demand mismatch. So to address that, increasing production is the answer.
Second, we need to have free cross-border. Mobility.
Meaning we should not ban exports and and CERD.
Equitable distribution is key because all countries may not have access base based on their on their needs. So we're asking those three things and we're working with the International Chamber of Commerce very closely and with B20, these are the businesses that belong to the G20 to address the problem of the logistics we're facing at its root.
If I can speak to the individual level. So even the individual actions that all of you take affect the supply chain.
So as it relates to masks, members of our team are having teleconferences across our infection prevention and control networks where there's very serious discussions about the use of medical and surgical masks. We need to ensure that we prioritize the use of these masks for our frontline workers. And so we plead with you. If you do not need to wear a mask at home as an individual in the community. Don't wear a mask. Don't hoard those masks. Make sure that those masks are available to the frontline workers because they're making very difficult decisions about extended use or potential re-use. And we don't want to put our health care workers in any further danger. So please, if you don't need to if you're not caring for a sick person at home, then there is then you don't need to be wearing a mask. So again, please prioritize the use of these masks for our frontline workers.
Thank you. We now have a question from Karrine at Bloomberg Korean, are you on the line? Korean. Are you on the line? Yes, can you hear me? Yes, we can. Please go ahead.
Ok. So given that 10000 deaths have been reported and many researchers estimate that the mortality rate of Kobe 19 is at 1 percent. Is there any reason not to estimate that 1 million people may have already been infected?
Yeah, I think you may be mixing up two lines of logic here.
There have been over 200000 confirmed cases reported and we have 10000 deaths. So deaths, can we calculate the proportion of those we tried to avoid death in general because very often your reported cases reflect infections up to 14 days before which deaths can actually reflect people who were exposed two weeks, three weeks, four weeks before. So it's it's it's not necessarily a good thing to make that calculation, but you're using debt as a way of calculating how many people are infected. Is making an assumption that you actually you can make that calculation. And unfortunately, we we can't make that calculation.
What I think we need to focus on and many people are we will have to wait for serology tests to really understand what the population attack rates are. But all of the data so far suggests that asymptomatic cases are a relatively low proportion of symptomatic cases.
We don't know beyond that whether there are others who just get infected and just develop antibodies that never, ever know they're infected or may not even be infectious. The question is what's driving infection? And what we believe is driving infection is. For the overwhelming majority of people are, in fact, of they're infected by a symptomatic other individual, somebody who is sick and symptomatic, who either scoffs or sneezes close by or who contaminates the surface close by.
That is the main driver of transmission. And that's what we have to focus on in court in order to avoid infection. We can worry about all of the other ways that we could possibly be infected, theoretically. And that's important. And there are outliers in all of science. But the driving force is that with regard to the deaths, rather than trying to win, we we can say 10000 deaths and sounds like a laugh. And then other people say, well, you know, people die of other things, too. But take one look at what's happening in some health systems around the world. Look at the intensive care units, completely overwhelmed. Doctors and nurses utterly exhausted. This is not normal.
This isn't just a bad flu season. These are health systems that are collapsing under the pressure of too many cases.
This is not normal. This is not just a little bit worse than we're used to. This is this is tough for systems. And therefore, trying to use the absolute number of deaths as a measure of the overall impact of this outbreak is probably not the right term to use. But certainly when we say 1 percent overall case fatality, it it's it's a it's a number.
But when I would say to you that in in certain situations, and particularly in the over 70s, in a number of situations, the case fatality, the clinical case fatality, the case fatality in those people admitted to hospital is up to 1 in 5 4 people over the age of 70 years of age. That's a really, really serious outcome for anyone being admitted with would go with 19 and a equally when we look at people in intensive care. If you look at the in Italy at the moment, two out of three people in intensive care in Italy are under the age of 70. And in fact, 12 percent of people in intensive care in Italy are under the age of 50. So again, let's look not just at deaths. Let's look at severity. Let's look at the impact this is having in society.
I just want to take this opportunity to say something about models, so mathematical models, we W.H.O. works with a large number of modeling groups across across the globe, statisticians and modelers. And this is really important for us to help work through scenarios and work through the what ifs, what may happen if we don't do anything. What will the trajectory of this outbreak in each country and at the global level or by region look like if we do nothing and those numbers are scary. I'm sure you've seen some scary numbers that have been reported in the media and those numbers will likely continue. But the important thing is, is that there's something we can do about this. We have seen in a number of countries now that there are several actions that can take this comprehensive approach that we've been talking about to drive those numbers down. And we owe this to ourselves and the rest of the world to do everything we can to make sure that those predictions do not become a reality.
Thank you, Maria. So now I have a question we got we're moving around the globe to Greece. Kostis from a.r.t. Are you on the line?
Yes, I am. Do you hear me?
Please go ahead.
I will be asking the question to Dr. General, give us, please, is an update about the vaccine research. How far away we from the lucky first day to win. Calvet 19.
Question about the vaccine.
So we are working across with their research and development blueprint, the R&D blueprint, with a number of scientists and researchers all over the globe, and one of the areas that we are working on is the acceleration of vaccine development, not just us. We're working with people across the globe.
There's at least 20 vaccines that are in development for Cauvin, 19. And you heard us report. I think, Mike, you can give a little more detail on this. Of the first trials that are starting 60 days after the virus was sequenced. If I'm not mistaken, the acceleration of this process is is really, truly dramatic in terms of what we are able to do. Building on work that started with TSAs, that started with murres and now being used for colvard 19, we're still some time away before we would have a vaccine that that could be used. And they still need to go through the trials to look at efficacy. But this work is underway and we are very grateful for all of it. All of the partners that are working to get these clinical trials on your way. Mike?
Yeah, maybe I could. So it again. Yes. And I'm very, very pleased to see the work accelerating.
And we we thank our colleagues in separate, but also working very closely with which at Berkeley and his colleagues at the gallery.
And many, many others, the Gates Foundation and others, I think, beyond the scientific research to vaccine.
It's fantastic to see the innovation going on to develop vaccine candidates and to take those candidates through the necessary testing. And many people are asking, well, why do we have to test the vaccines? Why don't we just make the vaccines and give them to people? Well, the world has learned many lessons in the mass use of vaccines. And there's there's only thing one thing more dangerous than a bad virus, and that's a bad vaccine.
So we have to be very, very, very careful in in developing any product that we're going to inject into potentially most of the world's population. We have to be very, very, very careful that we first do no harm. So that's why people are being careful. Why? Well, to be eight weeks into a major event of a new disease and have a vaccine going into the arm of well, A.L.S. this week is is just unprecedented in its speed.
And that would never have happened had countries not put the genetic sequences out in public. And I think that, again, shows to play solidarity is so important. But we will face another challenge down the line and one that the director general is very concerned about and is reaching out to other institutions like GAVI and others to discuss right now.
And that is that even if we get a vaccine that's effective, we have to have that vaccine available for everybody. There has to be fair and equitable access to such a vaccine, not just for ethics reasons, but because the world will not be protected until everyone is protected.
So in that sense, there are other hurdles to cross now. Not just the hurdles of science, but the hurdles of how do we scale up to production of such a vaccine? How do we ensure we get enough of that vaccine in time? How do we distribute that vaccine to populations all over the world? And how do we convince people to take the vaccine? Because you've all seen over the last few years the lack of the loss of confidence in vaccines. It's one thing having a vaccine, but people need to avail of that vaccine. So there's a lot of work to do. And the director general will be leading a process with with other organizations to address the issues of production, scale-up financing, advance market commitments and a fair and equitable distribution of those vaccines and has already been reaching out to major institutions and global health leaders on this.
And on the vaccines, one thing I would like to stress. As Mike said, it is.
1 The speed is really unprecedented in 60 days.
To have the first person to be enrolled in vaccine trial is is really amazing.
I hope the vaccines and trial work and at the same time, though, before even we have the vaccine, as Mike said, we have to prepare so that the vaccines can reach everybody who needs it, because this vaccine should not be for the haves. It should be for those who cannot afford it, too. So we need to answer that question as early as possible. But the solidarity we're witnessing is very, very encouraging. My colleagues were sending me a text about another solidarity, this solidarity, which we are saying is a solidarity of scientists who came together, as you remember, six weeks ago, to find solutions, diagnostics, treatment and vaccines. And then the other Solidarity's, the financing, the Solidarity Response Fund. As you know, we started it last week. And today, we have mobilized already 66 million U.S. dollars.
This is a record, but it's not the money. One hundred seventy five thousand people were involved in one week, and not only that, there is an outpouring support which is still flowing.
And including many stories that really touch our hearts.
I will give you one of some of the stories in New York, theater group started a virtual singing challenge getting people to donate.
And in Ireland, Mike's country car and Ford is staying active in pledging 4000 squats in GoFundMe campaign to support the fund. And then online, a popular video game streamer started hosting regular fundraisers with his followers. Very innovative. And on and on. I don't want to take but the time on this. But these are stories of solidarity and when. Humanity is confronted with a common enemy like this.
It also gives us a chance to bring. The best of us, and that's what we need, solidarity in in in everything.
With that kind of solidarity, which is we said it last week, which is more infectious than the virus itself.
We will be able to stop this virus.
On that note, I'm going to close his press conference. It's so important that we all stay positive. I'm so sorry to the 277 journalists online that you didn't get to ask your questions. We will be sending the transcript out. We'll also send the number of the WhatsApp chat board. You just have to put in plus 4 1 7 9 8 9 3 1 8 9 2 and send the word high.
But we'll send it to you so you can all use it and see what a great check but it is.
And we will also send the usual audio files. Thank you so much for joining this this briefing today. Goodbye.
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