The COVID-19 pandemic is straining health systems in countries across the world. Health care professionals fear they will not get enough medical supplies or the support they need to keep up with the deluge of victims of the coronavirus.

With more than 142,000 confirmed cases in the US and more than 690,000 cases globally, health care workers are feeling the strain of taking in a rapidly growing number of contagious patients who often deteriorate quickly.

Related discussion: The coronavirus pandemic and predicting gaps in healthcare capacity

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Monday that the coronavirus is threatening healthcare systems across the world.

“The rapidly increasing demand on health facilities and health workers threatens to leave some health systems overstretched and unable to operate effectively,” Tedros said at a media briefing in Geneva.

Despite efforts to ramp up testing for COVID-19, gaps persist in assessing the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. Those gaps are worsened by a stressed global medical supply chain.

With the possibility of future waves of the virus, what do researchers and health care professionals need most to continue fighting the spread of COVID-19?

The World's Elana Gordon moderated a live conversation with Dr. Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, to address these challenges.

Mina discussed the scope of the pandemic and the intersection of research and supply chains — along with hopes for treatments and vaccines.

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