The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that Covid-19 is no longer considered a global public health emergency, following a recommendation from the WHO’s emergency committee.
This declaration, which was made on January 30, 2020, more than three years ago, marks the seventh time the WHO has designated a public health emergency of international concern for a serious disease outbreak, including monkeypox, Covid-19, Zika, H1N1 flu, polio, and Ebola.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accepted the committee’s advice and declared, “It is therefore with great hope that I declare Covid-19 over as a global health emergency.” According to WHO data, global Covid-19 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 acknowledged 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 cautioned that Covid-19 still poses a threat, and someone dies from the disease every three minutes worldwide. 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-19 public health emergency will end on Thursday, after being in place since January 2020. The country is currently seeing an average of around 158 daily deaths, 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.
While the declaration represents a milestone in the fight against Covid-19, it is not an indication that the pandemic is over, and continued vigilance and efforts to combat the disease are necessary.