Covid-19 continues to be classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (Pheic) and the world is still facing a pandemic, according to definitions by the World Health Organization (WHO). Basically, the situation regarding the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus remains the same, with clear signs of improvement. Today, the globe is experiencing a moment of “transition”, but there are at least six reasons for concern.
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After the meeting of the expert committee last Friday (27), there was the possibility that the covid-19 pandemic would finally be closed, after almost three years of its announcement. However, the director general of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyeus, confirms, this Monday (30), that the virus remains a global threat.
Challenges for the end of the covid-19 pandemic
To justify maintaining the status of a pandemic and the risk to global health that the virus poses, the WHO highlights six main points that must be worked on by governments around the world:
1. Covid-19 mortality
Mortality is still high when compared to other respiratory diseases. In the last eight weeks, more than 170,000 deaths have been recorded. On the other hand, “the world is in a better position than it was during the peak of Omicron transmission last year”, confirms the WHO, in a statement.
2. Reduction in surveillance capacity
Surveillance and genetic sequencing have declined globally, making it difficult to track known variants and detect new ones, especially those descended from Omicron. At this point, the committee recognizes that there is “a dissociation between infection and severe disease compared to previous variants”, but “the virus maintains the ability to evolve into new variants with unpredictable characteristics” and therefore needs to be monitored.
3. Emergence of new viruses and health systems on edge
Covid-19 is no longer the only threat, and competition for space in care already occurs with patients who have influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). In addition, systems are at their limit, with a shortage of professionals and many doctors and nurses are in a situation of exhaustion.
4. Fake news and lack of vaccination
“Hesitancy to vaccinate and the continued spread of misinformation remain additional obstacles to the implementation of crucial public health interventions,” says the WHO. Despite this, the group points out that the immunizers available continue to protect against severe forms of the disease.
5. Medicines against covid-19 are inaccessible
Although science has advanced a lot in the fight against covid-19 in recent years, antivirals for covid-19 and the most modern therapies are restricted to a few privileged groups in the world — for example, in Brazil, specific drugs against the disease cost more than four thousand reais. This situation must be overcome so that mortality begins to fall.
6. Long Covid and the ongoing threat
Finally, WHO highlights the risk of long-term covid and a constant and lasting threat to health systems around the world. “The long-term systemic sequelae of long-term COVID and the heightened risk of post-infection cardiovascular and metabolic disease are likely to have a serious and ongoing negative impact on the population, and care for these patients is limited or unavailable in many countries. “, complete.
When will the covid-19 pandemic end?
Controlling these six WHO targets of concern appears to be an unattainable challenge, but experts believe this is not true. After all, the goal is not to extinguish the covid-19 virus, but rather to control the infectious agent to such an extent that it no longer causes severe damage.
“While elimination of this virus from human and animal reservoirs is highly unlikely, mitigating its devastating impact on morbidity and mortality is achievable and should remain a priority goal,” WHO emphasizes.
Now, the next meeting of the group of experts – when the long-awaited end of the pandemic can be made official – should take place between the end of March and April of this year, but it still does not have an official date. Before making any predictions, however, it will be necessary to wait for the course of the virus and its mutations.