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World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday that "there will be no return to the 'old normal' for the foreseeable future," but that there is a "roadmap" for struggling countries to get the virus under control.

Why it matters: A record 230,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to the WHO on Sunday, as total infections approach 13 million worldwide.

  • About 80% of the new cases were reported from 10 countries, while 50% came from the U.S. and Brazil — the two worst-hit countries in the world.

What he's saying: “Let me be blunt: Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction," Tedros said. "The virus remains public enemy No. 1, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this. ... If the basics aren’t followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go. It’s going to get worse and worse and worse."

The big picture: Countries must make the following goals a priority in order to mitigate the disease, Tedros said:

  • Focus on reducing mortality and suppressing transmission.
  • Foster an engaged community that takes individual behavior measures in the interest of each other.
  • Establish strong government leadership and coordination of comprehensive strategies that are communicated clearly and consistently.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic will wreak havoc on the U.S. health care system long after it ends — whenever that may be.

Why it matters: The pre-pandemic health care system was already full of holes, many of which have been exposed and exacerbated over the past several months, and many Americans will be stuck with that system as they grapple with the long-term consequences of the pandemic.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 21, 2020 - Health

Studies show drop in COVID death rate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's been a sharp drop in mortality rates among hospitalized coronavirus patients, including older patients and those with pre-existing health conditions, per two new peer-reviewed studies.

By the numbers: One study that looked at a single health system found that hospitalized patients had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic, but now have only a 7.6% chance, NPR reports.