As governments and lawmakers around the world continue to ease pandemic restrictions, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises people to not treat COVID-19 as a common flu. Despite the COVID numbers being at an all-time high including the mortality rate going back to what it was in the early pandemic months, countries have not implemented any strict restrictions to combat the situation.

There have now been three different variants of COVID-19 identified by scientists so far, and the likelihood of further mutations is still high due to several countries not being able to vaccinate their entire population due to either financial or political reasons. Amidst all this, countries are treating COVID as a common flu when it can be severely devastating to the medical institutions.

The special envoy for Covid-19 at WHO, Dr. David Nabarro told the press in a statement saying it is not the common flu and should not be treated as such in any way. He said it should be treated, “as though it is full of surprises, very nasty and rather cunning,” hinting at how taking the virus for granted at this point can be really harmful, when we have learned so much from it in the previous two years.

This is getting more attention now because several governments have talked about managing the pandemic as every other flu now, for those who have a majority population vaccinated against the virus. The White House’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci said just last week, “I think that’s what most people feel when they talk about in endemicity, where it is integrated into the broad range of infectious diseases that we experience,” referring to the coronavirus as staying with us as other diseases have in the past and thus also treating it that way. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture. We must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end. We cannot let it continue to drag on, lurching between panic and neglect.”