“We have spent two and a half years in a long, dark tunnel, and we are starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of that tunnel, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
“But it’s still a long way to go, and the tunnel is still dark, with many obstacles that can haunt us if we don’t pay attention,” he said.
Tedros said in a press conference last week that the world has never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”
“This is certainly an indicator that a major phase of the current pandemic is now coming to an end, although we must be careful how we interpret the word ‘end’,” cautioned Menon.
Epidemiologist Ramanan Laxminarayan agreed, saying that as long as individuals are vaccinated the risk of COVID is low, so they should no longer worry about the pandemic as far as their health is concerned. .
“Due to vaccination and wider population exposure, the risk of hospitalization and death has been greatly reduced, so public attention is expected to increase further,” said Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics. End Policy in Washington (CDDEP) told PTI.
According to the WHO coronavirus dashboard, on 22 September, the number of daily reported global deaths stood at 1,395, the lowest since March 2020, while the number of new cases stood at 4,28,321 (4.2 lakh), the highest since October 2020. is the lowest.
The daily cases peaked in January 2022, reaching 4,040,309 (40.4 lakh) on 26 January. The highest number of deaths occurred on July 21, 2021, which recorded 20,005 fatalities.
In India, the daily number of cases reached 4,14,188 on May 7, 2021, while June 10, 2021 saw the highest number of deaths at 6,148. On Friday, 5,383 new cases of Kovid were reported in the country and 20 deaths occurred. Global weekly deaths from the virus have not exceeded 20,000 since mid-April, even as the number of cases increased.
Cell biologist Sanjeev Galande noted that the pandemic is showing signs of ending soon, but the coronavirus may be with us for much longer.
Galande, dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, said, “If we look at the trend since the beginning of 2022, total cases, hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing rapidly in most countries. ” ,
There is increasing evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will eventually become seasonal, which is characteristic of many other respiratory illnesses, Galande said.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death rate for people sick enough to be hospitalized has dropped dramatically.
“It was about 15 percent during the predominance of the Delta version and has decreased to less than 3 percent at the end of the Omicron phase compared to last year, which is good news!” Galande said.
Experts said the worst may be over, but it may take us a long time to declare the end of the pandemic.
The WHO also cautioned that the coronavirus is still an acute global emergency and highlighted that more than one million people died of COVID-19 during the first eight months of 2022.
It also reaffirmed that countries need to keep a close eye on their policies and strengthen them for COVID-19 and future viruses, urging nations to vaccinate and test 100 percent of their high-risk groups for the virus. did.
According to Laxminarayan, since tests have moved home away from laboratories, the number of cases being reported may give a false sense that the pandemic is over.
“But the bottom line is that we should get vaccinated and stop worrying,” he said.
Menon said that we can well expect that we are emerging from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that the more communicable as well as the more virulent form does not appear.
Going forward, he said, the decision on what steps need to be taken to protect oneself can now be left to the individual and there is no need for state intervention, especially in a punitive manner.
In Laxminarayan’s view, the message for policy makers should be that they continue to focus on COVID vaccination, while the general public should not worry until they are vaccinated.
“While the Covid disease is not going to disappear, it is unlikely that we will see a major resurgence in Covid deaths and hospitalizations if we go back to life as normal.
“A new strain that is dangerous can always emerge but we can take appropriate measures at that time,” the scientist said.
Globally, as of 22 September 2022, there have been 610,866,075 (over 61 crore) confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,510,139 (65 lakh) deaths reported to WHO. A total of 12,640,866,343 (1,264 crore) doses of vaccine have been administered till September 19, 2022.