The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that the novel coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Rather, the agency claimed in a press conference on Friday afternoon that the virus is entering a "new and dangerous phase."
According to Interesting Engineering, the WHO made the announcement after data showed that Thursday, June 18, marked the highest number of global COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began. Part of this increase is due to the larger number of tests that have been distributed throughout the population.
However, scientists are warning the rising rate could also be because countries have been too eager to reopen their economies and ease lockdown measures that were put in place to stop the spread of the disease.
"Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies. But the virus is still spreading fast. It is still deadly and most people are still susceptible," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed during the press conference.
The statement echoes recent words by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is currently serving as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Fauci claimed that the country has not seen a reduction in cases but rather a plateau, indicating that the U.S. is still in the first wave of the pandemic.
However, the WHO pointed to a third reason why yesterday marked a new record in cases -- the virus has begun its spread to low- and middle-income nations. For example, the South American nation of Brazil currently has the second-highest death toll in the world, and other countries on the continent are similarly reporting growing infection rates.
In light of the virus's spread -- especially in poorer countries with less healthcare infrastructure -- Tedros urged the public to "exercise extreme vigilance" and "focus on the basics."
"Continue maintaining your distance from others. Stay home if you feel sick. Keep covering your nose and mouth when you cough. Wear a mask when appropriate. Keep cleaning your hands," he stated.
"COVID-19 has demonstrated that no one is safe until we are all safe. Only by putting politics aside and working in true collaboration can we make a difference."As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the latest reports on the disease are suggesting that China -- the country where the virus originated -- is entering lockdown for the second time after a cluster of cases was discovered in a second food market.
Overall, the coronavirus has infected over 8.2 million people worldwide, in addition to claiming over 446,000 lives.