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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization

Cyril Zingaro/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Covid-19 is likely to be downgraded from a public health emergency of international concern this year after it turns into a similar level of risk to the flu.

“We are coming to the point where we can look at Covid-19 the same way we look at seasonal influenza,” WHO said Michael Ryan Today at a press conference. “A health threat, a virus that will continue to kill. But a virus that isn’t disrupting our society or disrupting our hospital systems.”

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Announced at the press conference. “We are certainly in a much better position now than at any other time during the pandemic,” he said.

In January 2020, as cases of the coronavirus continued to rise in China and confirmed in 18 other countries, the WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of threat. Two months later, the organization stated that the event had become a pandemic, usually taken to mean that a disease is spreading to many countries, although there is no universally agreed definition.

While the coronavirus is still circulating widely, it is now less likely to cause serious illness, as most people have had it at least once, many have been vaccinated multiple times, and the current Omicron variant is similar to some previous variants. are less virulent than

“It is heartening to see that, for the first time, the weekly number of reported deaths over the past four weeks has been lower than when we first used the word ‘pandemic’,” Ghebreyesus said. “I am confident that, this year, we will be able to say that Covid-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern. We are not there yet.”

A WHO committee is reviewing the criteria that would mean the risk from COVID-19 could be reduced, but has not yet reached a decision.

Ryan said, “We are on a positive path.” “The virus would represent minimal danger to society, where an increase in virus transmission would not be associated with a higher rate of hospital admissions,” Ryan said. “We’ve started to see that in the last six months, where the increase in infections is not linked to the continued pressure on the health system, because vaccination rates are significantly higher.”

Ryan said, however, that many countries still have gaps in vaccination coverage and access to antiviral treatment for the medically vulnerable. “We have to protect communities that may be more vulnerable to serious disease,” he said. And if the virus evolves to become more virulent, “all bets are off”, he said.

however, Stephen Griffin An independent group of scientists at Britain’s Leeds University who are members of iSAGE say the WHO’s plans are premature. “Most worryingly, there is continued segregation and discrimination against the millions of clinically vulnerable people, particularly those who are unable to make an effective vaccine response,” he says.


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