‘Far better situation now’ but COVID is still an emergency, says WHO

World Health Organization executive board, seen at the 152nd session. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@WHO)

COVID-19 remains a global health emergency, though the pandemic could be nearing an inflection point, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

This refers to a time when higher levels of immunity can lower virus-related deaths. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the last eight weeks, at least 170,000 people died globally in connection to the coronavirus, but noted that is only the reported number and the actual number is much higher. 

He spoke at the 152nd session of the executive board on Monday, saying it was three years ago that he declared a public health emergency over the global spread of the coronavirus.

“As we enter the fourth year of the pandemic, there is no doubt we are in a far better situation now than we were a year ago, when the Omicron wave was at its peak,” Ghebreyesus said. “But since the beginning of December, weekly reported deaths have been rising.”

Ghebreyesus said globally, people must fight misinformation and vaccination remains an essential part of the approach in keeping populations safe.

Globally, nearly 1.9 million new cases and over 12,000 deaths were reported in the week of Jan. 16 to 22, according to data from the WHO.  

In the last 28 days (Dec. 26, 2022 to Jan. 22), over 11 million cases and over 55,000 new deaths were reported globally – a decrease of 25 per cent and an increase of 13 per cent, respectively, compared to the previous 28 days. 

In Ontario, there have been a total of more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15,851 reported deaths. 

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