The rising number of Covid-19 cases in the United States — especially among young people in the southern region of the nation — cannot be explained by testing alone, a World Health Organization official said on Monday.
"What is clear is that the increase is not entirely explained through just increased testing. There’s some evidence of increase in hospitalizations. But this was always a possibility when restrictions are lifted," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's health emergencies program, said during a briefing in Geneva.
"I’ve seen the reports that some of this is amongst younger people. That may reflect the fact that younger people are more mobile and are getting out and taking advantage of the reduction in the restrictions of movement," Ryan said. "This is something that WHO has spoken about many times — many countries have experienced clusters of disease or upticks in the aftermath of reducing stay at home orders or allowing population mobility to happen."
Ryan added that continuing to follow guidelines to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus is key to help reduce this rise in cases.
"Maintaining vigilance around physical distance; personal hygiene; the wearing of masks according to the national guidelines and where appropriate; the increase of surveillance of the clusters that are investigated, testing, tracking, isolating cases, quarantining contacts -- this is what needs to continue," Ryan said.
"The issue is not the rising numbers per se. The issue is what is to be done to bring those numbers back and what combination of measures can be used in order to do that, in terms of targeted public health measures, increasing surveillance, increasing cluster investigation and ensuring that we identify cases and contacts as quickly as possible," he said.