The Perfect Enemy | WHO: Covid Pandemic ‘Finish Line’ In Sight
September 29, 2022

WHO: Covid Pandemic ‘Finish Line’ In Sight

WHO: Covid Pandemic ‘Finish Line’ In Sight  Forbes

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Topline

The end of the Covid-19 pandemic is “in sight,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday, while emphasizing governments must take even more actions to finish the battle against the coronavirus, as global weekly Covid deaths reach their lowest point since March 2020.

Key Facts

The world is “not there yet,” Tedros said during a press conference, but “we can see the finish line.”

The conference came after the world reported 11,118 deaths due to the coronavirus the week ending September 5, the lowest number since mid-March 2020, as Covid infections have continued to fall in recent weeks, according to the WHO.

The world has “never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” the WHO director-general added, urging governments to “take this opportunity now” or run the risk of “more variants, more deaths, more disruption and more uncertainty.”

The WHO is releasing guidance on policies with key actions that governments must take to “finish the race” with a summary of the best evidence from the past 32 months of the pandemic, Tedros said, calling on countries to reach 100% vaccination levels for the most at-risk populations of health care workers and the elderly.

Crucial Quote

“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view. She runs harder with all the energy she has left. So must we …We are in a winning position. Now is the worst time to stop running,” Tedros said.

Big Number

20 million. That’s how many fewer weekly cases of Covid-19 were reported around the world the week ending September 5, compared to a mid-January winter omicron peak of some 23 million weekly global cases, according to the WHO. U.S. cases are down from a summer surge as well, with the country averaging 67,342 infections a day the week ending September 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Key Background

The Covid-19 pandemic first emerged in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. The disease has claimed some 6.52 million deaths since then, while more than 600 million have been infected, after attempts to contain the virus failed. The virus has also mutated at several points, with new Covid variants proving even more effective at evading antibodies from previous infections and vaccines than their predecessors. Vaccines, which the U.S. began to offer in December 2020, have served as an essential tool in the fight against the pandemic, though inequitable distribution of the shots has helped prolong the pandemic, according to experts. Covid treatments such as oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies have also proven useful, especially for at-risk populations including those who are immunocompromised, have chronic health conditions or are above the age of 65. The U.S. in recent weeks has begun to roll out booster shots targeting the highly contagious omicron variant for all Americans 12 and older in an effort to avoid another winter surge. About 67% of people in the U.S. are vaccinated against Covid, though only 35% of those 5 and older have received a booster shot.

Further Reading

End of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, says WHO chief (Reuters)