Second year of pandemic "could even be tougher" - WHO's Ryan

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WHO Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan in Geneva, Switzerland, October 5, 2020. Christopher Black/WHO/Handout via REUTERS

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GENEVA, Jan 13 (Reuters) - The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic may be tougher than the first given how the new coronavirus is spreading, especially in the northern hemisphere as more-infectious variants circulate, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

"Going into a second year of this could even be tougher given some of the transmission dynamics," WHO's Mike Ryan said during an event on social media.

The WHO, in its latest epidemiological update issued overnight, said that after two weeks of fewer cases being reported, some five million new cases were reported last week.

"After the holidays, in some countries the situation will get a lot worse before it gets better," said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for COVID-19.

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Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and John Miller in Zurich

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