The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, says WHO boss


The world has never been in a better position to end the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed millions of people since the end of 2019, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. , Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Last week, the number of weekly deaths from COVID-19 fell to the lowest since March 2020. We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” said Dr.r Tedros during a press briefing in Geneva.

However, he warned: « We are not there yet, but the end is at hand ».

Almost the finish line

“Someone who runs a marathon does not stop when he sees the finish line. He runs faster, with all the energy he has left. And so are we,” the WHO chief stressed.

« We can all see the finish line, we’re on the way to winning, but it really would be the worst time to stop racing, » he insisted.

« If we don’t seize this opportunity, we run the risk of having more variants, more deaths, more disruptions and more uncertainty, » warns Dr.r Tedros, calling to “seize this opportunity”.

According to the latest epidemiological report on COVID-19 released after the press conference by WHO, the number of cases fell by 28% in the week of September compared to the previous week, for some 3.1 million new declared infections. The number of deaths fell by 22% to just under 11,000 over the same period.

The number of infections is undoubtedly much higher, in particular because mild cases are not necessarily declared, but also because many countries have more or less dismantled their screening capacity.

A study by the organization based on projections and assessments published in May reported 13 to almost 17 million additional deaths from COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

The official figure is just over 6.4 million COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic until mid-September.

Advice to countries

At the same time as the Dr Tedros launched his message of hope, the WHO published six guides for Member States to enable them to quickly put behind them this health crisis which has also cost trillions of dollars and euros in terms of growth, paralyzed entire swathes of the global economy for many months and exposed inequalities in the world, particularly in terms of vaccination.

The rich countries have monopolized the available doses and in many poor countries the vaccination rates are still insufficient.

These recommendations « are an urgent call on governments to seriously consider their policies, to strengthen them against COVID-19 and future pathogens that could have the potential to cause a pandemic », underlined the head of the UN organization.

Among these recommendations, messages that the WHO has been repeating for almost two years and since the arrival of vaccines: vaccinate 100% of vulnerable people and health workers, continue screening and gene sequencing programs, the latter allowing in particular to track potentially dangerous new variants.

“We can end this pandemic together, but only if countries, businesses, communities and individuals step up and seize the opportunity,” said Dr.r Tedros.

Doctor Michael Ryan, in charge of emergency situations at the WHO, drove the point home.

“We are still dealing with a virus that mutates and evolves easily and which has proven more than once in the past two years that it knows how to adapt,” he insisted.

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