Covid-19 caused more mass trauma than WW2: WHO

Denise Begaye, an X-ray technician with the Monument Valley Health Center in Oljato-Monument Valley taking a break from her shift on Thursday, April 16, 2020. AP Photo
Denise Begaye, an X-ray technician with the Monument Valley Health Center in Oljato-Monument Valley taking a break from her shift on Thursday, April 16, 2020. AP Photo

Geneva, March 6 (IANS): World Health Organization (WHO) officials have said that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused more "mass trauma" than World War II and warned of its lasting consequences.

"The world has experienced mass trauma because World War Two affected many, many lives," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual press conference here on Friday.

"And now, even with this Covid pandemic, with bigger magnitude, more lives have been affected, almost the whole world is affected."

The WHO chief added that the pandemic induced mass trauma is "beyond proportion and even bigger than what the world experienced" after the Second World War, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Countries have to see it as such, and prepare for that," he warned.

Evidence of mass trauma has been presented by other organisations, such as the International Council of Nurses, which warned on January 13 of the effects of the pandemic on nurses' mental health.

Mass trauma could even affect transmissibility, as it would be "very difficult to sustain behaviors that stop the epidemic" for affected communities, Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said at the same press conference.

"The mental health and psychosocial support to individuals and communities must be central to all recovery plans and must be costed in to those plans," he said.

According to Maria Van Kerkhove, the Covid-19 technical lead for the WHO, "there needs to be a lot more emphasis by governments, by communities, by families, by individuals to look after our well-being".

The total number of global Covid-19 cases has topped 116 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.57 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Saturday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 116,030,165 and 2,578,988, respectively.