End of covid-19 pandemic is near, says WHO chief
(CNN) — The world has never been in a better position to end the covid-19 pandemic, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), in a Press conference in Geneva this Wednesday.
“Last week, the number of weekly deaths reported from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” he said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is near.
“A marathon runner doesn’t stop when the finish line is in sight; he runs harder with all the energy he has left,” Tedros said. We must too. We can see the finish line, we are in a winning position, but now is the worst time to stop racing. Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our efforts”.
There is still a risk of more variants, deaths, outages and uncertainty, he said, “so let’s seize this opportunity.”
The WHO published six policy briefs this Wednesday outlining the key actions governments must take to end the pandemic. The reports are based on evidence and experience from the past 32 months and offer guidance on how to save lives, protect health systems and prevent social and economic disruption. They are “an urgent call for governments to take a hard look at their policies and strengthen them for Covid-19 and future pathogens with pandemic potential,” Tedros said.
Although official case counts have been significantly underestimated, trends have shown a steady drop in cases both globally and in the United States.
According to the most recent WHO update, the weekly case count is falling in all regions, with an overall drop of 28% compared to the previous week. And in the United States, cases have been steadily declining over the past two months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
During the weekly epidemiological update The WHO report on Wednesday said that just over 11,000 deaths were reported between September 5 and 11, a 22% decrease compared to the previous week.
Declines were reported in five of the WHO regions: 31% in the Europe region, 25% in the South-East Asia region, 22% in the Americas region, 11% in the Western Pacific region, and 10% in the Eastern Mediterranean region. There was a 10% increase in deaths in the Africa region.
The United States reported the highest number of weekly deaths, followed by Japan, Russia, Brazil and the Philippines.
Overall, more than 6.4 million deaths have been reported worldwide as of 9/11.
About two-thirds of the world’s population, and about the same in the United States specifically, are vaccinated with at least their initial series. But significant disparities in Covid-19 vaccination rates persist among low-income countries, and rates are changing little now, especially in the United States.
Forecasts released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that new hospitalizations and deaths will remain stable over the next month.
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips contributed to this report.