The World Health Organization has downgraded the global emergency status of the coronavirus pandemic. WHO’s emergency committee experts recommended the designation more than a year after the original diagnosis. The epidemic has been “on a downward trend for more than a year,” as Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus put it, “with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection.”
Despite the change in assessment, COVID-19 remains a pandemic and is still a health threat. Thousands of people lose their lives every week, and new strains could make the problem much worse. Among other infectious diseases, Tedros asks nations to focus on combating COVID-19.
When a health crisis affects the entire planet, world leaders are notified and must act together. The average person will not be affected by this choice. Pandemic-era bans in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States have been lifted. The U.S. health crisis will be over on Thursday.
Swine flu, Zika, Ebola, polio, and mpox epidemics have all prompted similar declarations of global emergencies from WHO. While the global emergency status of polio was lifted over nine years ago, it is still theoretically in effect for mpox.
Despite the vaccination campaign and ongoing efforts to contain the virus, health officials advise people to take COVID-19 precautions. The virus is not going anywhere, and high immunization levels have helped to dramatically reduce disease spread. Officials emphasize that some measures may be necessary for persons with preexisting illnesses or weakened immune systems. Professor Simon Clarke of the University of Reading advised against people dropping all COVID-19 protections, reminding everyone to take care and think of the vulnerable.