The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in 10 people has been infected with coronavirus, leaving most of the world’s population vulnerable to developing COVID-19.
“Our current best estimates tell us about 10% of the global population may have been infected by this virus. It varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies depending on groups. But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk,” Michael J. Ryan, MD, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said in an address to the agency’s executive board. “We are now heading into a difficult period. The disease continues to spread.”
Cases and deaths have been rising in parts of southeast Asia, Europe, and the eastern Mediterranean region, he noted.
During the meeting, international health ministers also called for an evaluation of the repercussions of the Trump administration’s announcement that it plans to withdraw the U.S. from the WHO in July 2021. The country currently owes the WHO about $80 million, which it will instead allocate to paying its U.N. bill in New York, according to federal officials.