For the past 2 years, we have been hit by a pandemic that traumatized the world. The COVID-19 pandemic. Many jobs have been affected and a lot of companies closed, transportation stopped, and economies declined. But with the help of the vaccines, we have recovered, though not fully yet, we have continued to live our lives and push through the pandemic era.
Just this month, the World Health Organization (WHO), through its Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared the end of the COVID-19 global health emergency. The Director-General said on May 5, “Yesterday, the #COVID-19 Emergency Committee met for the 15th time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice. With great hope I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency”.
With this announcement, the WHO still reminds people that the virus is not gone, but it is still killing and still changing. In remembering the pandemic, the virus first made a public emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. According to the WHO Coronavirus Dashboard, there have been a total of 765,222,932 cases worldwide that they have received. And almost 7 million deaths in total. As of April 30, a total of more than 13.3 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. Though many have been vaccinated, WHO chief said that “the risk remains of variants emerging that may cause new surges in cases and deaths”.
He also said that the decision had not been made lightly. For the past year, the WHO-led Emergency Committee had been carefully examining the data, on the right time to lower the alarm. They have seen that for the past 12 months; the pandemic has been on a downward trend. With immunity increasing due to the highly effective vaccines developed in record breaking time to fight the disease, and infections. The death rates have decreased and the pressure on the once overwhelmed health system has eased. “This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we know it” said the WHO chief.
As the WHO works to transition to the long-term management of the virus alongside other infectious diseases, the WHO Director-General has issued temporary recommendations for states parties to follow. He encourages countries to:
With the pandemic declared as over, there are still more problems arising because of it. Like the “political fault lines” that have been exposed within and between countries, eroded trust between people and governments, and laid bare “Searing inequalities” said Ghebreyesus, acknowledging the severe social and economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. Therefore, he cautioned countries against letting their guard down, dismantling the systems they had built, or sending the message to their people that “COVID-19 is nothing to worry about”.
The emergency status may be lifted, but it doesn’t mean that the virus is gone.