The WHO maintains the covid emergency in the face of the uncertain evolution of the virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) decided today to maintain the covid pandemic as an international health emergency in view of the uncertainties that persist, in particular regarding the evolution of the virus, which could mutate to be more dangerous and evade immunity.

"Although it is obvious that the global situation has improved since the pandemic began, the virus continues to change and there are still uncertainties and many risks," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.

This decision was recommended by an international group of experts that make up the WHO Emergency Committee, responsible for evaluating every three months whether the spread of a disease constitutes a threat to international public health.

According to the latest data reported by countries to the WHO, deaths from covid-19 have dropped to a level comparable to the start of the pandemic. At the same time, two-thirds of the world's population have received at least the initial dose of one of the available vaccines against this disease.

However, the Emergency Committee stressed that inequalities in vaccination rates have not disappeared. Similarly, there are still problems of access to antivirals and other treatments in low-income countries.

The president of the committee, Didier Houssin, explained that lifting the emergency declaration related to covid-19 could lead to a series of health and social measures being lifted just before the expected increase in cases in the northern hemisphere in the coming months of winter.

Houssin, a renowned French surgeon, acknowledged that for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the members of the committee discussed the possibility, advantages and disadvantages of lifting the declaration of an international emergency due to covid.

In the debates, the uncertainty that exists "about the subsequent trajectory of the virus, its genetic and antigenic characteristics and the clinical impact of future variants" weighed.

Another concern that influenced the committee's recommendation had to do with the difficulties in quantifying the burden that complications such as thrombosis, of the endocrine system and others that covid-19, as well as long covid, represent for national health systems.

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