On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Covid-19 is no longer a global public health emergency.
Covid-19 No Longer Global Health Emergency: The declaration, which was issued on Jan. 30, 2020, more than three years ago, was made following a recommendation from the WHO’s emergency committee, which convened for the 15th time on Thursday.
Accepting the advice, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared, “It is therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency.”
The WHO designates a public health emergency of international concern for the most serious disease outbreaks. The organization has assigned the label to seven outbreaks since 2007, including monkeypox, Covid, Zika, H1N1 flu, polio, and Ebola (which has twice been designated an emergency).
According to WHO data, global Covid deaths have steadily declined over the past three months, from more than 41,000 weekly deaths at the beginning of January to around 3,500 on April 24.
Tedros noted that the pandemic has been on a downward trend for over a year, with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection, mortality decreasing, and pressure on health systems easing. This trend has allowed most countries to return to pre-Covid-19 life.
However, Tedros warned that Covid still remains a threat, and someone died of Covid every three minutes worldwide last week. He urged countries not to let down their guard or dismantle the systems they have built to manage the pandemic.
In the U.S., the Covid public health emergency will end on Thursday, after being in place since January 2020. The country is currently seeing around 158 daily deaths, on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tedros emphasized that the announcement means it is time for countries to transition from emergency mode to managing Covid-19 alongside other infectious diseases.
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