As coronavirus cases rise around the United States and the world, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pled for global unity. More than six months after the virus was first identified, the virus has continued to spread in many places, including the United States.

“My friends, make no mistake: The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself,” Tedros said on July 9 at a speech in Switzerland.  “Rather, it’s the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels.” Experts saw the speech as a plea to leaders including President Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who have both downplayed the virus. Bolsonaro announced that he had contracted coronavirus earlier in the week.

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The United States continues to report record-breaking case numbers, including multiple records broken in a single week.

“This is a tragedy that is forcing us to miss many of our friends, losing many lives. We cannot defeat this pandemic as a divided world,” Tedros said, “How is it difficult for humans to unite to fight a common enemy that’s killing people indiscriminately? Are we unable to distinguish or identify the common enemy? Can’t we understand that the divisions or the cracks between us actually are the advantage for the virus? Covid-19 is a test of global solidarity and global leadership.”

Tedros’ speech came days after the United States announced a plan to formally withdraw from the WHO.

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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