On May 5th, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is no longer a global public health emergency. The organization cited a decrease in COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalizations and high levels of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 from vaccination or prior infection as reasons for the shift to more long-term prevention and control of the disease. However, the pandemic is not over, and the organization notes that COVID-19 still poses a global health threat.

Infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong of the University of California, San Francisco, calls the WHO’s decision reasonable, noting that it follows the example of many countries that have done the same. However, he also emphasizes that COVID-19 is still a significant global health concern, with over 750 million confirmed cases and nearly 7 million deaths worldwide as of May 3.

The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, and later named the outbreak a pandemic. These declarations prompted nations to work collaboratively to collect and share COVID-19 data, develop tests, vaccines, and treatments, and combat the disease. More than 13 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide.

However, the WHO notes that global inequities in accessing care and vaccines, an evolving virus, and pandemic fatigue remain challenges in keeping the disease in check. The organization plans to form a committee to examine what long-term management of the disease will look like and will continue to monitor the disease.

While the end of the public health emergency designation is a positive development, it may also lead to a decline in COVID-19 tracking data and reduced funding for research, slowing the development of new vaccines and treatments. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the continued danger of the virus and urged countries to maintain their COVID-19 systems to remind people that SARS-CoV-2 is still a threat.

By rjcool

I am a geek who likes to talk tech and talk sciences. I work with computers (obviously) and make a living.

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