The World Health Organization (WHO) warned this week to avoid hugging loved ones this holiday season to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“It’s a horrible thing to think that we would be here as the World Health Organization saying to people, ‘Don’t hug each other.’ It’s terrible,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, during a Monday news conference, according to the Associated Press.
“That is the brutal reality in places like the United States right now,” he added when responding to a question if hugging was considered “close contact.”
“The epidemic in the U.S. is punishing. It’s widespread,” Ryan also said. “It’s quite frankly, shocking, to see one to two persons a minute die in the U.S. — a country with a wonderful, strong health system (and) amazing technological capacities,” he said.
CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN
For context, the U.S. has seen more than 280,000 coronavirus deaths to date, the most of any country, according to estimates from Johns Hopkins University.
Brazil and India fall behind the U.S. at an estimated 117,317 and 140,958 deaths, respectively.
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