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WHO Boss Declares “Covid Is Over”

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared that Covid is no longer a global emergency.

WHO decided to lower its highest level of alert on Friday, after convening an expert group on Thursday.

“It’s with great hope that I declare COVID over as a global health emergency,” Dr. Tedros said, during a Press briefing on Friday however, warned that the virus still posed a threat in developing countries that have not had access to vaccines.

Dr.Tedros said the pandemic is likely responsible for around 20 million deaths — due to reporting issues and testing inconsistencies.

‘It isn’t a snap decision. It’s something we came up with over time,’ Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, an American infectious disease specialist at the WHO, said in response to a question about why the agency made this decision so late.

Professor Didier Houssin, a WHO member from France, said the agency first considered lifting the emergency in January.

The health agency first declared Covid an international crisis on January 30, 2020. At that point, no major outbreaks had been recorded outside of China.

However, the WHO leaders now say it is time for countries to treat Covid as they do other infectious diseases.

‘The ending of the emergency is emphatically not the end of Covid as a public health problem,’ Prof Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, said.

‘Rather, it is a recognition that we are no longer seeing major surges in infections, severe illness and death.

Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow at the University of Southampton, said: ‘One slightly counter-intuitive aspect is that the WHO has downgraded COVID-19 from a public health emergency, yet the sustained multi-country transmission means it still meets most widely used definitions of a ‘pandemic’.

‘However, we are clearly in a different phase of handling COVID-19, the impact of the virus is clearly much less than it was, and the WHO decision is reasonable.’

More than three years later, the virus has caused an estimated 764 million cases globally and about 5 billion people have received at least one dose of vaccine.

When Tedros declared COVID-19 to be an emergency in 2020, he said his greatest fear was the virus’ potential to spread in countries with weak health systems he described as ‘ill-prepared.’

In fact, some of the countries that suffered the worst COVID-19 death tolls were previously judged to be the best-prepared for a pandemic, including the US and the UK.

An estimated 1.1 million Americans died from Covid, the most of any nation. In the UK, more than 200,000 deaths have been logged.

Dr Kerkhove said the true number of deaths from Covid could be much higher than recorded.

‘We know its far higher than the 7 million deaths that have been reported,’ the expert said.

The US also recorded more cases than any other nation, eclipsing the 100 million mark. An estimated 24 million were suffered in the UK.

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