On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency. This is a significant step towards ending the pandemic, which has caused over 6.9 million deaths, disrupted the global economy, and affected communities worldwide. The announcement came after the WHO’s emergency committee met for the 15th time and recommended that the public health emergency of international concern be declared over.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “It’s therefore with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency.” However, he also emphasized that COVID-19 is still a global health threat, even though it no longer represents an emergency.
The WHO’s emergency committee first declared COVID-19 as its highest level of alert more than three years ago, on Jan. 30, 2020. This status helped focus international attention on the health threat and encouraged collaboration on vaccines and treatments. The fact that it is now being lifted indicates the progress that has been made in these areas.
According to WHO data, the death rate has decreased significantly from a peak of over 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 in the week ending April 24. However, Ghebreyesus stressed that this does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat.
It is important to note that the WHO does not declare the beginning or end of pandemics. Still, the organization did begin using the term for COVID-19 in March 2020. Last year, U.S. President Joe Biden declared the pandemic to be over, and a number of other countries have also started dismantling their domestic state of emergencies for COVID-19.
In conclusion, while COVID-19 is no longer considered a global health emergency, it remains a significant health threat worldwide. The WHO’s announcement is a testament to the progress made in fighting the pandemic, but it is important to continue efforts to control and eventually end the spread of the virus.