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Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's technical lead on the coronavirus pandemic, is pictured during an interview in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 13, 2020.
Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead on the coronavirus pandemic, is pictured during an interview in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 13, 2020. Richard Juilliart/AFP/Getty Images

Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for Covid-19, said that while it’s hard to say whether the state of the pandemic has improved, the world has a shot at controlling Covid-19 if it uses all the tools as available. 

“We can do this,” she said. “We just have to collectively come together from the political level all the way to the individual level to do that.”

Speaking on CNN’s New Day onWednesday, van Kerkhove said:

We really are in a critical period. It’s hard to say, you know, if we’ve improved or not. In some parts of the world we’ve really improved, some countries have shown us that they can control Covid, they can control the spread, they can keep transmission low, they can keep vulnerable populations safe. And in other part of the world, the virus is spreading rapidly.

Van Kerkhove said that while there are virus hotspots in all WHO regions, there have also been positive signs in all of them.

She said that there are several reasons for the increased transmission in some parts of the world, including virus variants, an uneven and unequitable global rollout of vaccines and a lot of fatigue, with governments wanting to open societies.

She said that 17 months into a pandemic, having the “highest number of cases reported each week is not the situation that we need to be in.”

“But we do need to learn where we can, we need to course correct where we can and we need to have the hope that with all the tools, the public health tools plus the vaccines, we really have a shot at controlling Covid,” she said.

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