Don’t celebrate yet: The end of the pandemic is ‘still a long way off’, WHO chief says #news

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The end of the pandemic is “still a long way off,” the head of the World Health Organization mentioned Thursday, in an try to explain constructive feedback he and different global leaders lately made.

“I have said the pandemic is not over, but the end is in sight,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, mentioned at a Thursday digital information convention, the place he gave the impression from the U.N. General Assembly in New York. 

“Both are true.”

Some global leaders who’ve lately remarked about the state of the pandemic have sounded too sure, professionals say. The truth is that new COVID variants are steadily evolving—some with the possible to raised evade immunity and even perhaps render the monoclonal antibody treatment useless.

What’s extra, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and different professionals, together with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s best infectious illness professional, expect a fall COVID wave in the U.S. starting in overdue October, and peaking in overdue December or January. It may kill some other 20,500 Americans, consistent with the IHME.

Per week of befuddlement

The string of complicated feedback started at a news conference on Sept. 14, when Ghebreyesus mentioned the global has “never been in a better position to end the pandemic.”

“We are not there yet,” he mentioned, “but the end is in sight.”

On Sunday President Joe Biden told CBS’s Scott Pelley that “the pandemic is over,” even though the nation nonetheless has a “problem with COVID.”

Then on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s best infectious illness professional, in a Center for Strategic & International Studies talk, mentioned the nation is “not where we need to be if we’re going to be able to ‘live with the virus.’”

The U.S. is, alternatively, headed in the proper path in terms of conserving the virus at ranges low sufficient that it doesn’t disrupt social order, he mentioned. 

But new variants have the possible to opposite that development, he added.

The mixture of feedback has left some perplexed as to the place the nation, and the global, stands, resulting in Ghebreyesus’ Thursday explanation: Though “the end is in sight,” it’s slightly visual.

“We have spent two and a half years in a long, dark tunnel, and we’re just now beginning to glimpse the light at the end of that tunnel,” Ghebreyesus mentioned.

But Ghebreyesus contends the global is in a place to be successful in opposition to COVID, if international locations proceed to make vaccines and coverings to be had, and if other people proceed to get vaccinated and take different suitable movements like overlaying and social distancing.

Global deaths are simply 10% of what they have been in January 2021, and two-thirds of the global’s inhabitants is vaccinated, Ghebreyesus mentioned, calling them noteable benchmarks.

But as a result of the virus flourishes and simply mutates in unvaccinated populations, “no one is safe until everyone is safe,” he mentioned, urging the significance of low-income international locations acquiring get entry to to the newest and easiest vaccines and coverings like Paxlovid, as high-income international locations have.

No clean definition

Whether or no longer the pandemic is over depends upon whom you communicate to.

According to a recent Axios-Ipsos poll, 33% of Americans suppose COVID is over and executed with, whilst 65% disagree.

The conundrum exists as a result of there’s no simple, agreed upon standards for pointing out the pandemic’s end, Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, lately advised Fortune.

Officials who make such proclamations will have to provide an explanation for their pondering, he added.

“America is done with the pandemic,” he mentioned, bringing up the Axios-Ipsos ballot. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not done with them yet. That’s a challenge.”

“We need to live our lives and move forward. But when you have a disease that is the No. 4 cause of death in the country and is still evolving, is it okay just to say things are done and over?”

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