The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that there have been significantly fewer newly reported cases of Covid-19 and urged everyone to grasp the chance to stop the pandemic. According to WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the number of recently discovered instances of the disease, which has claimed millions of lives since its discovery in late 2019, dropped this week to its lowest level since March 2020.
He told reporters, “We’ve never been in a stronger position to finish the pandemic.” Although the end is not in sight just yet, it is close.
The number of cases detected of Covid-19 decreased by 28 percent to 3.1 million for the week ending September 11 after dropping by 12 percent the previous week, according to the WHO’s most recent epidemiological data on the disease.
That was the UN agency’s most optimistic evaluation since it proclaimed a global emergency in January 2020 and began referring to COVID-19 as a pandemic three months later. In late 2019, the virus first emerged in China, and since then, it has wrecked economies worldwide and overrun healthcare systems. It has killed close to 6.5 million people and infected 606 million.
The cases might have decreased, but do not underestimate it.
The organization has cautioned, however, that the declining number of reported cases may be misleading because many countries have reduced testing and may not be picking up on less severe cases.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for Covid at WHO, said, “the number of instances that are being reported to WHO is an underestimate.” She warned that the virus “is circulating at a very severe level over the world at the present time” and stated that she believed there were much more cases than were being reported to her.
According to Tedros, nations must carefully examine their policies and reinforce them in preparation for COVID-19 and upcoming diseases. He also advised countries to vaccinate high-risk populations and continue conducting virus tests. According to the WHO, nations must maintain sufficient medical materials and healthcare personnel.
According to a WHO analysis from May, approximately 17 million individuals may have died from Covid in 2020 and 2021, based on increased mortality in several nations throughout the epidemic. Future waves of infection that may occur at various times throughout the world and be brought on by multiple sub-variants of Omicron or even different variants of concern, according to Van Kerkhove, are likely. However, she continued, “those subsequent rounds of infection may not necessarily translate into further waves of death.”
The majority of the world has likely moved past the pandemic response’s emergency phase, according to Dr. Michael Head, senior researcher in global health at Southampton University. According to him, governments are currently considering the best ways to manage COVID as part of their routine healthcare and surveillance.
As nations prepare to start winter booster programs, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States have authorized vaccines targeting both the original virus and the Omicron version.
The end of Covid is “in sight,” but so is the advent of another Covid variant.
The Omicron COVID subvariant BA.4.6, which has been rapidly spreading in the US, is now verified to be spreading in the UK. According to the UK Health Security Agency’s most recent briefing on COVID variations, 3.3 percent of samples in the UK were BA.4.6 during the week commencing August 14. Since then, it has accounted for about 9 percent of sequenced instances. Likewise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BA.4.6 is responsible for more than 9 percent of recent infections in the US. The variation has also been seen in several other nations worldwide.
The BA.4.6 is an offshoot of the Omicron BA.4 variety. The BA.4 form, initially discovered in South Africa in January 2022, has since spread worldwide with the BA.5 variant. Though its origin is unclear, BA.4.6 is probably a recombinant variation. Although BA.4.6 and BA.4 are pretty similar, BA.4.6 has a mutation in the spike protein, a protein on the virus’s surface that permits it to enter human cells.
It is imperative to closely watch emerging varieties, such as BA.4.6, as they may trigger the next COVID pandemic. It will benefit the general public to exercise caution and abide by any public health regulations to stop the spread of the virus, which is still quite dangerous.