WHO: COVID remains an emergency but nears ‘tipping’ point


GENEVA — The coronavirus remains a global health emergency, the head of the World Health Organization said Monday, after a key advisory panel found the pandemic may be reaching a “tipping point” where higher levels of immunity can reduce virus-related deaths.

Speaking at the opening of the annual meeting of the WHO executive board, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “there is no doubt that we are in a much better situation now” than a year ago, when the highly transmissible Omicron variant was in its heyday. .

But Tedros warned that in the last eight weeks, at least 170,000 people have died worldwide in connection with the coronavirus. He called for at-risk groups to be fully vaccinated, increased testing and early use of antivirals, an expansion of laboratory networks and a fight against “misinformation” about the pandemic.

“We are hopeful that next year, the world will transition to a new phase where we reduce hospitalizations and deaths to the lowest possible level,” he said.

Tedros’s comments came moments after the WHO released the results of its emergency committee on the pandemic, which reported that some 13.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, with almost 90% of workers at health and more than four out of five people over 60 years of age. age having completed the first series of strokes.

“The committee recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic may be approaching a tipping point,” the WHO said in a statement. Higher levels of immunity worldwide through vaccination or infection “may limit the impact” of the virus that causes COVID-19 on “morbidity.” and mortality,” the committee said.

“(But) there is little doubt that this virus will remain a permanently established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future,” he said. While the Omicron versions spread easily, “there has been a decoupling between infection and severe disease” compared to earlier variants.

Committee members cited “pandemic fatigue” and the growing public perception that COVID-19 is no longer as great of a risk as it once was, leading to people increasingly ignoring or ignoring health measures such as the wearing masks and social distancing.


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