Commemorating Smallpox Eradication – a legacy of hope, for COVID-19 and other diseases

In this photo from 1947, people wait in line at Morrisania Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y., to be inoculated against smallpox.
Associated Press

Date Published: May 8, 2020

Source: WHO

On May 8, 1980, smallpox was officially declared at the 33rd World Health Assembly as being eradicated. World Health Organization (WHO) officials spoke on this historical moment in humanity’s victory over smallpox and states that similar global efforts could bring an end to COVID-19. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus identifies four key principles needed to achieve similar global public health efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) disease surveillance – finding potential new infections; 2) case finding – identifying infected individuals; 3) contact tracing and isolation; and 4) mass communication campaigns to inform affected populations. He also identifies global solidarity as the decisive factor in the victory against smallpox and urges nations to stick together.

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Summary by: Joseph Chon