WWhen the first cases of COVID-19 began to accumulate around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) was under pressure to declare the disease a pandemic. This announcement unlocked the keys to additional funding, resources, and emergency measures to control cases.
now in 60 minutes an interviewPresident Biden said the epidemic is over. He pointed to the fact that people are no longer wearing masks, that large public events like the Detroit Auto Show have resumed in person, and that concerns about COVID-19 no longer dictate our behaviors the way they have done over the past two years.
But public health experts Be careful about advertisingThey worry that it will mean that people have a license to let go of the already fragile webs of behavior trying to prevent a highly contagious virus from releasing again to trigger another wave of disease. It was also worrisome to arrive just as US health officials released a booster campaign To restore waning protection from vaccines before fall and winter, when respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 tend to predominate.
The truth is that while Biden’s statement there is hardly anyone wear masks That’s right, and that’s largely as a result of public fatigue, and because a judge in Florida overturned federal mandates requiring masks in government buildings and on mass transit. Therefore, the complete disappearance of the masks cannot be explained as a result of the reduced risk of the virus.
The president’s announcement “is counterproductive because it reinforces the impression that many people have that they don’t have to worry about COVID-19 anymore,” says Dr. Eric Toner, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Pandemic, most people mean that people all over the world are susceptible to an infectious disease to which people have no immunity, and therefore can cause serious illness. It is absolutely true that the epidemic is less severe than it used to be. But the truth is that we still have 65,000 new cases It’s reported every day, 450 deaths a day, which is 170,000 deaths a year. So it’s not over.”
Yes, infections are declining, and yes, deaths from COVID-19 are also significantly lower than they have been since the Omicron wave that hit earlier this year. But an average of more than 500 people die each week from COVID-19, and in a worrying sign, hospitals, especially among the elderly, are creeping in, as the immunity provided by vaccines declines.
Declaring the pandemic over will inevitably lead to the complacency that infectious disease experts believe is premature. Even if we were moving toward a reality where COVID-19 becomes more like the flu, with an annual (or more frequent) dose, COVID-19 still causes far more infections and deaths than the flu does on average. The fact is that the Omicron variant, and its most recent variant, Bachelor 4 and Bachelor 5, highly contagious. And while they don’t cause more serious disease, here’s what about viruses: The more infections a virus causes, and the more hosts it has, the greater the chances of it reproducing. And every time it makes more copies of itself, it can generate mutations. The more mutations that are generated, the more likely it is that one or a few of these mutations will lead to a more virulent version that causes more serious disease.
Certainly the threat from COVID-19 is not the same as before, vaccines and Antiviral treatments I changed it. They were made available in the United States because the government declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, allowing Congress to appropriate funds to provide those shots and treatments free of charge to the American public. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently renewed this designation until at least the end of October, and the World Health Organization has yet to declare victory over COVID-19 either.
Announcing the outbreak could jeopardize ongoing funding, only when it is most needed, to vaccinate people with their first booster dose of Omicron before winter. “When the administration is trying to get new money from Congress for COVID-19, it feels like an imprecise and ill-timed message,” Toner says. Already, HHS has funneled money from other health services to provide these boosters at no cost to the public, according to Minister Xavier Becerra during a recent briefing.
When will covid-19 end? There are no strict definitions of What constitutes a pandemicNot even when it runs off track. The scale of the disease, in terms of its scope around the world, is among the primary criteria for declaring a pandemic, and likewise, the decline in cases and the spread of the disease will be a factor in its completeness. But these decisions are as economic as they are epidemiological — like a pandemic, COVID-19 will cost the global economy $12.5 trillion by 2024, according to the latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund. This funding has strained governments around the world, both in the developed and developing world; If COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic, that means governments may be less committed to dedicating significant resources to things like testing, vaccine programs and treatments. And with the White House taking the lead in declaring the pandemic over, that may encourage state governors already inclined to scale back response measures to COVID-19 to eliminate it completely. This in turn could lead to less protection as more unprotected people congregate indoors, without masks, during cold weather when viruses spread more easily.
This winter will be significant when it comes to seeing where the epidemic goes from here – with a new booster more compatible with the Omicron variant, it could continue to drop, approaching behaving like the flu. Or, if people think they don’t have to worry about COVID-19 anymore, Omicron, or even a variant that hasn’t been named yet, may lead to another surge in cases.
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