Last Friday (5/5/23), the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it was ending the emergency declaration for COVID-19. WHO officials also declared that lifting the emergency declaration does not mean the end of the pandemic. Therefore, nations should continue to maintain COVID-19 response systems.
Although many countries have ended their states of emergency, the United States lifted its COVID-19 emergency yesterday (5/11/23). According to the WHO report, there were approximately 765,903,278 COVID-19 cases, with nearly 7 million confirmed deaths as of May 11th. More than 1 million deaths occurred in the United States. The end of the emergency declaration came more than 3 years after the World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced it on January 30th, 2020. At the time, COVID-19 cases were fewer than 10,000, mostly in China.
It is essential to note that the WHO has issued public health emergency declarations seven times since 2005. Such declarations are implemented to trigger a series of rules and regulations to mitigate a pandemic or disease outbreak. The measures help track the spread of the disease or viruses through fast-track tests and medicines. The COVID-19 declaration was the first international health emergency since the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2019.