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2022 mark the end of the Covid-19 pandemic

The year 2022 could mark the end of the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, says the WHO

The head of the UN health agency at a press conference on Wednesday expressed optimism that 2022 could mark the end of the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Gebreyesus, recalled that two years ago when people gathered to celebrate the New Year, a new global threat emerged.

Since then, there have been 1.8 million deaths for 2020 and 3.5 million in 2021, but the real number is much higher. Millions of people are also suffering from the long-term effects of the virus.

A tsunami of cases

Currently, the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus are causing record numbers of cases, leading to an increase in hospital admissions and deaths.

Dr. Tedros is "very concerned" that the more infectious Omicron variant, which is being released at the same time as Delta, will cause a "tsunami of cases".

Earlier this year, at meetings of the world's biggest economic powers - the G7 and G20 - the WHO called on leaders to vaccinate 40% of the population by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022.

Just days before the end of the year, 92 out of 194 member states have yet to meet the target.

The WHO chief attributed this to low-income countries receiving limited supplies for most of the year and vaccines reaching close to their expiry date without essential supplies such as syringes.

New goals

"Forty percent was achievable. Not only is it a moral disgrace, but it has cost lives and allowed the virus to circulate and mutate unchecked," he said.

The WHO chief warned that booster doses in rich countries could again fail in low-income countries and urged leaders and producers in rich countries to work together to reach the 70 percent target by July.

"It is time to put short-term nationalism behind us and protect people and economies from future fluctuations by eliminating global inequalities in vaccination," he said.

"We have 185 days to meet the target and reach 70 percent by early July 2022. The countdown begins now".

The year 2022 could mark the end of the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, says the WHO


Tedros realized early on that combating the new health threat required science, solutions, and solidarity.

The WHO chief said there have been some successes, such as the development of new vaccines, but he lamented that too often politics has trumped solidarity. 

"Populism, petty nationalism, and hoarding by a few countries of health tools, including masks, therapies, diagnostics, and vaccines, have undermined equity and created ideal conditions for new variants to emerge," he said.

In addition, false and misleading information has been "a constant distraction, undermining science and trust in life-saving health tools."

The future

As the pandemic progresses, new variants could become completely resistant to current vaccines or previous infections, which would require vaccine updates.

Dr. Tedros said that since each new vaccine update could mean a new vaccine shortage, it is important to stockpile locally.

He also called for a new agreement among countries, saying this would be an "important pillar" for a world better prepared to deal with the next disease. 

"I hope the negotiations will progress quickly and leaders will act ambitiously," he said.

As an example, he cited the huge waves of infection that have swept through Europe and many other countries and the disproportionate number of deaths among the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated are much more likely to die for both reasons.


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