The WHO sees Covid posing a similar threat to flu this year

GENEVA. The Covid-19 pandemic may be contained this year to the point where it poses a flu-like threat, the World Health Organization said Friday.
The WHO has expressed confidence that it will be able to declare the end of the emergency in 2023, saying it is increasingly hopeful that the epidemic phase of the virus is coming to an end.
Last weekend marked three years since the UN health agency first described the situation as an epidemic, although the head of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus argues that countries should have acted weeks earlier.
“I think we’re getting to the point where we can look at Covid-19 the same way we look at seasonal flu,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a news conference.
“A health hazard, a virus that will continue to kill. But a virus that doesn’t disrupt our society or disrupt our hospital systems, and I believe it will come as Tedros said: this year.”
The WHO chief said the world is in much better shape now than it has been at any time during the pandemic.
“I am confident that this year we will be able to say that Covid-19 has ended as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC:),” he said.
5000 deaths per week
The WHO declared a PHEIC, the highest level of alarm that can be sounded, on January 30, 2020, when fewer than 100 cases and no deaths were reported outside of China.
But it wasn’t until Tedros described the worsening situation as an epidemic on March 11 that year that many countries seemed to wake up to the danger.
“We have declared a global health emergency to push countries to take decisive action, but not all countries have,” he said Friday.
“Three years on, almost seven million deaths from Covid-19 have been reported, although we know the actual death toll is much higher.”
He was pleased that for the first time in four weeks the weekly death toll was lower than when he first described Covid-19 as a pandemic.
But he said more than 5,000 deaths a week were too many for a preventable and treatable disease.

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