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We are not yet in the final stages of the pandemic, WHO chief warns

Covid-19 Vaccine Mobile Clinic sign, September 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Covid-19 Vaccine Mobile Clinic sign, September 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Fredric J. Brown (Getty Images)

World Health Organization chief warns against pandemic arrogance. On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that Omicron may not be the last major variant of the pandemic. and that talk of a pandemic “endgame” is still premature. At the same time he was optimistic that this could be the last year of the “acute” phase of the pandemic if such important targets as vaccinating 70% of the world’s population are achieved.

He did Comments today during the AP executive board meeting informed. Among Discussing global health issues such as climate change, antibiotic resistance and tobacco use, Ghebreyesus spoke about the near future of the covid-19 pandemic.

“There are different scenarios for the development of the pandemic and the end of the acute phase. But it is dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last option or that we are in an endgame,” Tedros said.

The Omicron variant appeared in late November last year and quickly overtook the previously dominant Delta variant to become the main circulating form of the coronavirus worldwide, including in the US. people with prior immunity, and this winter, many countries had to face a new peak in the incidence.

However, vaccines still blunt the effects of Omicron, and in countries with very high vaccination rates, mortality during their recent peaks increased much less than in the past, or did not increase at all. Less vaccinated regions such as the US were not. lucky; on US weekends informed one of his the deadliest days of the pandemic to date, with over 3,500 deaths (although even now some of these deaths may have was from Delta variant, which was widespread before Omicron).

Cases in the US and other regions hit hard by Omicron are starting to drop from peaks.. And some experts expressed optimism that once this latest peak is over, the US and the world will be in much better shape moving forward. It is important, however, that this expectation, at least in part, depends on the assumption that Omicron will be the last major headache we will have to deal with in the near future, and that not sure, according to Tedros. “On the contrary, conditions around the world are ideal for the emergence of new options,” he said. Indeed, while Omicron is still the main threat, there are others. interest options this can cause problems.

However, there is reason for hope. There may several new and effective covid-19 treatments and vaccines will be available this year, including a vaccine clearly meant for low- and middle-income countries where vaccination rates are the lowest. And if the world reaches the 70% vaccination rate recommended by agencies like the WHO by the middle of this year, 2022 could very well be the end of Covid-19 becoming a “global health emergency,” Tedros said. Ideally, these vaccines should be given to those who are most at risk of severe Covid-19. And vaccination should be part of a broader pandemic mitigation effort that should also include testing and surveillance programs to keep an eye out for potential new options. Currently, just over 60% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, although less than 10% of people in the poorest countries have it.

Like many scientists and countries acknowledged, Tedros noted that covid-19 will not disappear anytime soon, even after the end of the pandemic. “But learning to live with covid cannot mean we are giving this virus a free ride,” he added. “This cannot mean that we are accepting almost 50,000 deaths a week from a preventable and treatable disease.”




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