New Delhi, Aug 22: The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes the COVID-19 crisis can be over in less than two years, faster than it took for the Spanish flu, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
Tedros said, the Spanish flu that hit in 1918 took two years to end.
"We hope to finish this pandemic before less than two years," Tedros told reporters from the WHO's headquarters in Geneva, and insisted that it should be possible to eradicate the coronavirus faster than the deadly 1918 pandemic.
"Our situation now with more technology, of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading, it can move fast."
By "utilising the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can finish it in a shorter time than the 1918 flu."
The spanish flu pandemic came in three waves, with the deadliest second wave beginning in the latter half of 1918.
It killed as many as 50 million victims and infected around 500 million around the world between February 1918 and April 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed nearly 8,00,000 people and infected about 23 million worldwide so far.
WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan said, "It took three waves for the disease to infect most of the susceptible individuals."
Then the flu virus evolved into a far less deadly seasonal bug, which returned for decades.
"Very often, a pandemic virus settles into a seasonal pattern over time," Ryan said.