This could be the end of the pandemic
The world’s nations have never been in a better position to end the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed millions since late 2019, the World Health Organization’s boss said Wednesday, Sept. 14.
“Last week, the number of weekly deaths from COVID-19 fell to the lowest since March 2020. We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “we are not there yet, but the end is within reach.”
“Someone who runs a marathon does not stop when he sees the finish line. He runs faster, with all the energy he has left. And so do we,” said the WHO chief.
“We can all see the finish line, we are on the verge of winning, but this would be the worst time to stop running,” he insisted.
“If we don’t seize this opportunity, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption and more uncertainty,” Dr. Tedros stressed, calling for “seizing this opportunity.”
According to the latest epidemiological report on COVID-19 released after the press conference by WHO, the number of cases dropped by 28% during September 5-11 compared to the previous week to some 3.1 million new infections reported.
The number of deaths fell by 22% to just under 11,000 over the same period.
The number of infections is probably much higher, especially because mild cases are not necessarily reported, but also because many countries have more or less dismantled their testing capacity.
A study by the organization based on projections and estimates published in May estimated that an additional 13 million to almost 17 million people would die of AIDS by the end of 2021.
The official figure is just over 6.4 million deaths from COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic through mid-September.
At the same time that Dr. Tedros launched his message of hope, the WHO published six guides for member states to quickly put behind them this health crisis that has also cost thousands of billions of euros in terms of growth, paralyzed for many months entire sectors of the global economy and exposed inequalities in the world, especially in terms of vaccination.
Rich countries have monopolized the available doses and in many poor countries vaccination rates are still insufficient.
These recommendations “are an urgent call to governments to seriously consider their policies, to strengthen them against COVID-19 and future pathogens that could have the potential to cause a pandemic,” said the head of the UN organization.
Among these recommendations, messages that the WHO has repeated for almost two years and the arrival of vaccines: vaccinate 100% of vulnerable people and health workers, continue testing programs and gene sequencing, which allows particularly to track new potentially dangerous variants.
“We can end this pandemic together, but only if countries, companies, communities and individuals mobilize and seize the opportunity,” said Dr. Tedros.
Dr. Michael Ryan, in charge of emergencies at the WHO, reinforced the point.
“We are still dealing with a virus that mutates and evolves easily and that has proven more than once in the last two years that it can adapt,” he insisted.