The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over if the World Health Organization head’s latest statement is to be believed. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director-general, said that instead of assuming that the global health crisis is coming to a end, nations should stay vigilant and focused on the challenges that could surface next.
Approaching The End?
Ever since experts found out that the omicron variant causes a milder illness than the delta strain, many people began to assume that the new variant of concern could be heralding the end of the pandemic or at least the acute phase of the health crisis. A number speculated that the surge in cases due to omicron could signal a turning point or a conclusion to the pandemic.
However, Ghebreyesus quashed such assumptions this week when he told a WHO executive board meeting on what he really thinks is happening. According to the organization leader, the world’s problem with SARS-CoV-2 is far from over as more variants are expected to surface moving forward.
“It’s dangerous to assume that omicron will be the last variant and that we are in the end game. On the contrary, globally, the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters during the meeting.
The pandemic has been going on for almost two years now, and Ghebreyesus believes it could continue for another year or two. Hence, he urged everyone to unite and move forward with caution while combatting the novel coronavirus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture. We must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end. We cannot let it continue to drag on, lurching between panic and neglect,” he said.
The Present Picture
After almost two years since it started, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 6 million people and infected more than 351 million. Based on the latest figures, omicron caused another surge in global cases. But omicron’s less-lethal impact and the prevalence of the vaccines might have caused more people to be complacent and view the disease to be not as dangerous as before.
Even though omicron causes less severe symptoms than other variants, experts are worried that it is putting a large strain on health care systems. As of late, the number of COVID patients in the U.S. climbed to another record high. The same can be said for the jump in cases in many other places, including Germany and Australia, according to 7News.com.au.
“Omicron may be less severe — on average, of course — but the narrative that it is mild disease is misleading, hurts the overall response, and costs more lives,” Ghebreyesus said. “Make no mistake, omicron is causing hospitalizations and deaths and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities. The virus is circulating far too intensely with many still vulnerable.”
As for when will the COVID-19 pandemic officially ends, experts still do not have a concrete answer. For Ghebreyesus and his colleagues, it is best to focus on the now and do one’s part in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Staying protected and lowering the chances of contracting the virus and spreading it would prove beneficial in the long run.