The World Health Organization gives an overview of the current situation, key insights, and national and international strategies. “Countries must do everything they can to stop cases from becoming clusters and clusters from becoming explosive outbreaks.” Speed, scale, and equity must be our guiding principles. “COVID-19 is a truly global crisis” requiring global solidarity.
The strategy is based on three insights:
- Speed and scale: the disease has spread quickly to all corners of the world, and its capacity for explosive spread has overwhelmed even the most resilient health systems (figure 1).
- Severity: overall 20% of cases are severe or critical, with a crude clinical case fatality rate currently of over 3%, increasing in older age groups and in those with certain underlying conditions.
- Societal and economic disruption: shocks to health and social care systems and measures taken to control transmission have had broad and deep socio-economic consequences.
- “Mobilize all sectors and communities to ensure that every sector of government and society takes ownership of and participates in the response and in preventing cases through hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and individual-level physical distancing.
- Control sporadic cases and clusters and prevent community transmission by rapidly finding and isolating all cases, providing them with appropriate care, and tracing, quarantining, and supporting all contacts.
- Suppress community transmission through context-appropriate infection prevention and control measures, population level physical distancing measures, and appropriate and proportionate restrictions on non-essential domestic and international travel.
- Reduce mortality by providing appropriate clinical care for those affected by COVID-19, ensuring the continuity of essential health and social services, and protecting frontline workers and vulnerable populations.
- Develop safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics that can be delivered at scale and that are accessible based on need.”