Global coronavirus cases will hit 1 million and 50,000 deaths in a few days, WHO officials say

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg via Getty Images

World Health Organization officials are “deeply concerned” about the “rapid escalation and global spread” of the coronavirus outbreak, saying global infections will eclipse 1 million with 50,000 deaths in a few days.

“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing at the organization’s Geneva headquarters Wednesday. “Three months ago we knew almost nothing about this virus.” 

On Monday, WHO officials said that government lockdowns aren’t enough to contain the coronavirus outbreak and, although they are hard on the economy and society, dying from COVID-19 is worse.

“These society-wide measures are not easy, they are difficult and they are hurting people, but the alternative is worse,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters. 

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 885,000 people and has killed at least 44,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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