The World Well being Group on Thursday stated that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, contradicting controversial remarks from President Joe Biden from earlier this week.
WHO Director-Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that one of the frequent questions he has been requested whereas on the United Nations Basic Meeting in New York Metropolis this week is: “The place can we stand? Is the pandemic over?”
“We have now spent 2 1/2 years in a protracted, darkish tunnel, and we’re simply starting to glimpse the sunshine on the finish of that tunnel,” Tedros stated at a press briefing. “However it’s nonetheless a great distance off, and the tunnel remains to be darkish with many obstacles that would journey us up if we don’t take care. All of us want hope that we will – and we’ll – get to the tip of the tunnel and put the pandemic behind us. However we’re not there but.”
Tedros’ remarks come after he stated final week that the tip to the COVID-19 pandemic is “in sight.” However Biden in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday took it a leap additional, saying that the pandemic is “over.”
Cartoons on the Coronavirus
“The pandemic is over,” Biden stated. “We nonetheless have an issue with COVID. We’re nonetheless doing quite a lot of work on it, however the pandemic is over. In the event you discover, nobody’s sporting masks. Everyone appears to be in fairly good condition.”
On Tuesday, he tried to make clear his remarks.
“The pandemic is, quote, ‘over,’ as I bought criticized for saying,” Biden stated at a Democratic Nationwide Committee occasion. “But it surely mainly shouldn’t be the place it was.”
Tedros on Thursday appeared in settlement with the second a part of Biden’s remarks, saying that “we’re in a greater place than we’ve ever been.”
“The variety of weekly deaths continues to say no, and at the moment are simply 10% of what they had been on the peak in January 2021,” he stated. “Two-thirds of the world’s inhabitants is vaccinated, together with three-quarters of well being employees and older individuals. In most international locations, restrictions have ended and life appears very similar to it did earlier than the pandemic.”
However he certified that assertion by including that “10,000 deaths per week is 10,000 too many when most of those deaths could possibly be prevented.”
WHO doesn’t determine whether or not an outbreak is a pandemic or not. As an alternative, it decides if occasions are a public well being emergency of worldwide concern, which it declared for COVID-19 in January 2020.
Requested whether or not there are standards for revoke such an emergency declaration, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, stated that “is beneath energetic dialogue.”
“We’re engaged on ending the emergency in each nation,” Van Kerkhove stated. “As it is a world downside, we have to finish this at a world stage.”