Deaths linked to the virus are at their lowest point since March 2020
World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared on Wednesday that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is close at hand. While the virus is still spreading at the same level as last year, despite mass vaccination, deaths have fallen significantly.
“We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,” Tedros said at a press briefing. Claiming that vaccination and other public health measures have reduced the threat posed by the virus, the WHO chief called on governments to push for 100% vaccination of vulnerable people and healthcare workers, and 70% vaccination of the general public.
“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view, she runs harder with all the energy that she has left,” he said. “Now is the worst time to stop running.”
The impact of vaccines, masks, lockdowns, and other public health measures on the virus’ spread has been a controversial issue, with near-totally vaccinated countries like Singapore still experiencing waves of infection this summer that dwarfed similar spikes in 2021 and 2020.
Some 3.1 million cases of Covid-19 were confirmed globally in the week ending September 5, compared to 3.9 million in the same week in 2021, and 1.9 million in the same week in 2020.
Deaths have fallen, however, with 11,000 linked to the virus in the week ending September 5, the lowest weekly total since March 16, 2020.
Tedros announced that the WHO would release six policy briefs for governments later on Wednesday, outlining the steps the organization thinks are necessary to avoid “more variants, more deaths, more destruction and more uncertainty.”
Among these steps are the aforementioned vaccination push, the maintenance of infection control measures in hospitals, increased testing and sequencing, and the administration of appropriate treatment to patients.