The WHO declares that this year “the public emergency will officially end”.

The World Health Organization estimates that 2023 will be the year the global public emergency of Covid-19 ends, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Now, in the fourth year of the epidemic, the world is in a better position than it was a few years ago, thanks to the management of medical care, vaccines and treatments. For most of the last year, Covid-19 has been declining”, the official maintained, adding that globally, especially in poorer countries, He underlined the increasing vaccination against the disease.

Adhanom feels that Covid-19 will continue to be a topic of discussion throughout 2023, but he guaranteed that the worst, in his opinion, is over: “With the right efforts, I believe there will be an emergency this year. The public service will officially end,” he said.

The WHO director-general gave examples of advances in antiviral drugs, which were achieved throughout 2022, and which “helped further reduce mortality, although distribution follows a pattern of reaching rich countries first”.

Despite the good news, the WHO official has left some caveats regarding these disparities and the new variant XBB.1.5, which has seen an increasing number of cases in the US and Europe.

“There are still huge disparities in access to testing, treatment and vaccination, and at the end of the day Covid-19 is a dangerous virus for health, economies and societies. As far as we know about 10,000 people die from Covid every week. The real death rate is likely to be much higher,” said the WHO director. The general said, expressing concern about the spread of SARS CoV-2 in different parts of the world and sub-variants that can recombine and spread rapidly.Health systems are already struggling with other respiratory viruses such as influenza.

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“One of Omicron’s subtypes, first detected in October 2022, XBB.1.5, a recombination of two subtypes of BA.2,” has already been identified, citing China’s problem. 25 countries worldwide.

“WHO is closely monitoring and assessing the risk of this subvariant and will report as it develops,” concluded Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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