Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks after Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, during the 148th session of the Executive Board on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, January 21, 2021.
Christopher Black | WHO | via Reuters
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused mass trauma on a larger scale than it did in World War II, and the effects will "last for many years," the World Health Organization top official said Friday.
"After World War II, the world experienced mass trauma because World War II affected many, many lives. And now, even with this Covid pandemic, on a larger scale, more lives are affected," said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference on Friday. "Almost the whole world is affected, every single person on the surface of the world is actually affected."
"And that means a mass trauma that is disproportionate and even greater than what the world experienced after World War II," he added, noting the mental health implications. "And if there is a mass trauma, it affects the communities for many years."
His comments came in response to whether countries should consider the economic and mental health impact of the pandemic more when planning their ways forward. Tedros MPs stressed that mental health should be a priority.
"The answer is absolutely yes," said Maria Van Kerkhove, director of the WHO's Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis Division. "There are differences in the impact this has had on individuals, whether you've lost a loved one or family member or friend to this virus. Whether you've lost your job, children out of school people, who are forced to stay at home in very difficult situations. "
Kerkhove added that the world is still in the "acute phase" of the pandemic, as the virus penetrates communities and kills tens of thousands every week. However, she added that psychological distress from the pandemic will become a major problem in the long run, saying that "Governments, communities, families and individuals need to put much more emphasis on taking care of ours." Wellbeing. "
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, urged people not only to highlight the pandemic's mental health as a problem, but also to discuss solutions.
"It is one thing to say that mental health and mental health are under pressure – it is true – but also the opposite of what we do to support people and communities and provide psychosocial support," he said .