WHO forced to retract “false, irresponsible” statement after expert outcry

The World Health Organization has been forced to retract a statement claiming that there’s no evidence that recovered COVID-19 patients cannot be reinfected.

“Earlier today we tweeted about a new WHO scientific brief on “immunity passports”. The thread caused some concern & we would like to clarify: We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection,” the W.H.O. tweeted on Saturday. “What we don’t yet know is the level of protection or how long it will last. We are working with scientists around the world to better understand the body’s response to #COVID19 infection. So far, no studies have answered these important questions.”

The W.H.O. had earlier put out a statement claiming that “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection”.

Experts slammed the W.H.O. for causing panic with the “false, irresponsible” statement.

“This is a false, irresponsible statement by the WHO, which will panic people in the name of not raising false hope,” tweeted Dylan H. Morris, a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

Morris provided reams of peer-review studies providing evidence that recovered people do develop protective immunity.

“In short: are we *100% sure* yet that an epidemiologically meaningful percentage of recovered people develop protective immunity? No, of course not,” Morris said. “Is there evidence? Yes, there’s evidence.”

Former Saskatchewan deputy Medical Health Officer Dr. Anne Huang, American statistician Nate Silver and Pulitzer Prize winning health journalist Laurie Garrett also joined the chorus of voices calling out the World Health Organization’s misleading statement.

The latest retractions come as another blow to the beleaguered global body whose credibility has been called into question for repeatedly making statements that have later turned out to be false and misleading.

The World Health Organization initially declared that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” citing “investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities,” despite scientists in Taiwan providing evidence to the contrary.

It later emerged that China’s communist government tried to hide the truth about the coronavirus with Chinese scientists going as far to destroy proof of the virus in December[1]https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/chinese-scientists-destroyed-proof-of-virus-in-december-rz055qjnj.

The WHO also initially advised against the use of masks by healthy individuals.

But the organization reversed its advice a month later.

“Wearing a medical mask is one of the prevention measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19,” the updated WHO guidelines read[2]https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/331693.

Meanwhile, a petition demanding the resignation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general accusing Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of kowtowing to China and mishandling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response has garnered over a million signatures[3]https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-call-for-the-resignation-of-tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus-who-director-general.

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/chinese-scientists-destroyed-proof-of-virus-in-december-rz055qjnj
2. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/331693
3. https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-call-for-the-resignation-of-tedros-adhanom-ghebreyesus-who-director-general