WHO sees Covid as a similar threat to flu this year – Times of India

GENEVA: The Covid-19 pandemic could abate this year to a point where it poses a threat similar to flu, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
The WHO expressed confidence that it will be able to declare an end to the emergency sometime in 2023, saying it is increasingly hopeful about the end of the pandemic phase of the virus.
Last weekend marked three years since the UN health organization first described the situation as a pandemic, although the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insists countries should have acted a few weeks earlier.
“I think we are getting to the point where we can look at Covid-19 in the same way we look at seasonal flu,” WHO emergency director Michael Ryan told a news conference.
“A health threat, a virus that will continue to kill. But a virus that will not disrupt our society or disrupt our hospital systems, and I believe that will come, as Tedros said, this year.”
The WHO chief said the world is in much better shape now than it ever was during the pandemic.
“I am confident that this year we can say that Covid-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC),” he said.
5,000 deaths a week
The WHO declared a PHEIC — the highest level of alarm it can sound — on January 30, 2020, when fewer than 100 cases and no deaths were reported outside China.
But it wasn’t until Tedros described the deteriorating situation as a pandemic on March 11 of that year that many countries seemed to become aware of the danger.
“We declared a global health emergency to urge countries to take decisive action, but not all countries did,” he said on Friday.
“Three years later, almost seven million deaths have been reported from covid-19, although we know that the actual number of deaths is much higher.”
He was pleased that the weekly number of reported deaths in the past four weeks was lower for the first time than when he first described Covid-19 as a pandemic.
But he said more than 5,000 reported deaths per week is 5,000 too many for a disease that can be prevented and treated.

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