The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the public health emergency of the coronavirus pandemic has been lifted. WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that there has been a decreasing trend in the pandemic over the past year, thanks to increased immunity from vaccinations and infections.
However, the decision does not have any concrete effects, as each country determines its own protective measures. The number of unreported cases around the world is likely to be much higher than the reported cases, with a good 6.9 million deaths and around 765 million infections reported worldwide.
The Sars-CoV-2 virus has not been defeated, and it continues to circulate in the world, which is dangerous and can develop more dangerous variants at any time. The WHO still follows the recommendation of an independent committee of experts, which found that the number of deaths was falling, and there were fewer stays in hospitals due to Covid-19, including fewer in intensive care units. People were also protected to a high degree, as the world has good tools to protect against the virus, including vaccines and protective measures such as face masks or keeping distance in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
In Germany, the last nationwide mask requirements in the healthcare sector ended on April 7 of this year, and the federal government’s Corona warning app has stopped issuing mutual warnings after contact with people who have tested positive from May 1. The WHO claims that significantly fewer people are now experiencing severe symptoms of Covid-19 than at the beginning of the pandemic when there were no vaccines or medicines.
The WHO continues to appeal to governments not to get on with business as usual, and for months she has been asking for more corona tests to be carried out, and for viruses to be genetically examined to get an overview of possible new variants. Since 2005, the WHO has declared a public health emergency seven times, officially known as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC). The coronavirus emergency was the second longest, and the longest applies to polio since 2014. Moreover, since July 2022, there has been a monkeypox emergency, and emergencies were also declared for influenza A virus H1N1 (2009-2010), Ebola in West Africa (2014-2016), Zika (2016), and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2019-2020).
Overall, the lifting of the public health emergency of the coronavirus pandemic by the WHO should not be taken as a sign that the pandemic is over. The situation remains difficult, and governments and individuals must continue to follow protective measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.