W.H.O. Ends Covid World Health Emergency Designation

The World Health Organization announced Friday that it will end the Covid-19 emergency it declared more than three years ago. This is a milestone in its sudden emergence from a pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide and turned everyday life upside down in previously unimaginable ways. Method.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

In practice, decisions rarely change. Many countries have already ended the Covid emergency and have moved away from almost all public health restrictions in place to control the virus. US will lift Covid emergency on May 11th. According to WHO, the virus will continue to remain a pandemic, much like HIV.

But the WHO’s dedesignation, formally called a “public health emergency of international concern”, is a significant moment in the evolution of the human relationship with COVID-19.

Dr K. Srinath Reddy, who headed India’s Public Health Foundation through the pandemic, said the decision to lift the state of emergency was appropriate. This is due to the high level of immunity worldwide against Covid induced by vaccination and/or infection.

“It no longer has the same level of danger,” he said, adding that Covid “has achieved a kind of coexistence, a certain level of equilibrium, with its human host.”

Dr. Reddy said the end of the emergency should also be celebrated as a moment of human achievement and a “celebration of science.”

“It’s important to recognize the fact that it’s not just evolutionary biology that has changed the nature of the virus, but vaccination, masks, and many of the general public have actually induced the virus to become less virulent.” He said. health measures. ”

Globally, 765,222,932 confirmed cases of CovidIncludes 6,921,614 deaths reported to WHO as of 3 May. Independent researchers estimate that the virus’ actual mortality rate is many times higher.

A year ago, the WHO announced that the first two years of the pandemic had killed 15 million more people than normal. In Egypt, the excess death toll was about 12 times the official Covid toll. In Pakistan, the figure was eight times higher. Developing countries will bear the brunt of the devastation, and by the end of 2021 nearly 8 million more people will die in low and middle income countries than expected.

And Covid continues to spread: WHO recorded 2.8 million new cases worldwide, and more than 17,000 deaths from April 3 to 30 (latest figures available). With many countries cutting back on Covid testing, these numbers probably also represent a significant underestimation.

The WHO declaration of a state of emergency, announced on 30 January 2020, was important guidance when the virus was known to have killed just 213 people. It informed the world that this new virus poses a threat outside of China, where it originated, and gave countries an important boost to impose unpopular or devastating public health measures.

The virus that plunged into humans in late 2019 has turned out to be an unpredictable foe, quickly and significantly in a way that revives and devastates the country just as they thought the worst was past. Mutated. Just weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi boasted how well India handled the coronavirus, a brutal wave of Delta variants devastated India. Although weak, it spreads deceptively easily, becoming the fourth leading cause of death in the United States by 2022 and a leading cause of death in many other countries.

The first mass vaccination started on December 8, 2020. Less than a year after the first case of the disease was reported to his WHO, he was a stunning triumph of science. But the collaborative process of vaccine development was followed by a harrowing period of hoarding and nationalism. A full year later, when people in developed countries were getting their second and third doses of the vaccine, Only 5% of people in sub-Saharan Africa I was vaccinated.

Dr Githinji Gitahi, executive director of Amref Health Africa, said it was time to lift the state of emergency. “The danger of holding it indefinitely is diluting the tool. It’s necessary to maintain its power,” he said. The declaration helped mobilize resources for Africa. But that didn’t counter the harrowing experience he called “vaccine fraud”.Amref remains committed to supporting immunizations in 35 African countries. Across the continent, coverage now stands at 52%.

Gitahi said the pandemic has also had a positive legacy, as it has spurred unprecedented levels of cooperation among African countries, including the creation of an African Union task force to coordinate vaccine procurement.

WHO’s decision was not welcomed by all health experts. Dr. Margareth Dalcolmo, a respiratory physician, member of the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine and one of the country’s most prominent experts in guiding the public through Covid, said that to lift the emergency We said it was too early. Researching Covid variants and developing better vaccines. She said the designation as a global public health emergency will allow low-income countries to receive treatment and support.

WHO announced on May 3 Updated Covid Management Planwhich aims to guide the country on how to manage Covid over the next two years as it moves from emergency response to long-term Covid prevention and control.

holding a WHO expert meeting in Geneva on Thursday, Dr Ghebreysus told the commission that for the past 10 weeks, the number of reported weekly Covid deaths was the lowest since March 2020. As a result, life has returned to normal in most countries and health care systems are being rebuilt, he said. .

“At the same time, some significant uncertainties about the evolution of the virus remain, making it difficult to predict future transmission dynamics and seasonality,” he said. “Surveillance and gene sequencing have declined significantly worldwide, making it more difficult to track known variants and detect new variants.”

And access to life-saving Covid treatments continues to be sharply unequal globally.

Dr D’Arcolmo said the lifting of the global emergency should not be seen as a milestone, but as a warning. “Take this as a warning and as a time to start preparing for the next pandemic,” she said.

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