COVID-19 death toll could double to two million before vaccine in wide use: WHO

FILE PHOTO: Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergencies program Mike Ryan speaks at a news conference on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA/ZURICH (Reuters) – The death toll from the coronavirus could double to 2 million before a successful vaccine is widely used and could be even higher without concerted action to curb the pandemic, an official at the World Health Organization said on Friday.

“Unless we do it, all the number you speak about (2 million deaths) is not only imaginable, but sadly very likely,” Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, said in a briefing on Friday.

His assessment came as the total number of deaths nine months since the virus was discovered in China neared the grim milestone of 1 million.

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