The WHO Says Conditions Are 'Ideal' For More COVID Variants To Emerge After Omicron
The end of the pandemic might not be that close after all.
Many have been holding onto the hope that Omicron is the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the World Health Organization says that's probably not the case.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said at a meeting with the WHO's executive board that it should not be assumed that the world is "in the endgame."
According to Tedros, although the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is within reach, certain strategies and tools are required to get there. There are still many parts of the world where vaccination rates are low, he said.
Tedros also warned against believing that Omicron will be the last variant.
"On the contrary, globally the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge," he said during the meeting.
Follow the afternoon session of the Executive Board #EB150 LIVE herehttps://bit.ly/WHOEB150— World Health Organization (WHO) (@World Health Organization (WHO)) 1643032131
However, that doesn't mean the world will be in pandemic mode forever.
Tedros explained that there are still steps all countries can take towards ending the pandemic, and it involves something that the WHO has been pushing to achieve for a while.
Seventy percent of every country's population must be fully vaccinated by mid-2022, Tedros said, with a focus on those who are most at risk.
If we want a where equity is a reality, not an aspiration, we must:\n-Shift towards promoting health, well-being & preventing disease\n-Build up primary health care\n-Develop a #PandemicAccord\n-Harness the power of science, data, digital technologies\n-Strengthen @WHO\n#EB150pic.twitter.com/xhTzEPYK1i— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus) 1643124411
Other steps to take include "restoring and sustaining essential health services," as well as ramping up testing globally to keep track of new variants.
But there is "no path out unless we achieve our shared target" of vaccination, Tedros said.
He noted that 85% of Africa's population has yet to receive a first dose of a vaccine.
"We simply cannot end the emergency phase of the pandemic unless we bridge this gap," stressed Dr. Tedros.
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