The World Health Organization announced Monday morning that COVID-19 will remain a global health emergency for the next three months, noting that the virus is at a “transition point.”
The WHO said that the virus is still causing a high number of deaths compared to other respiratory diseases. The WHO added that there remains uncertainty with future variants and vaccine uptake remains low in developing nations.
According to WHO data, the virus has killed 170,000 people globally in the previous eight weeks. The WHO noted that the virus killed 40,000 globally last week, with half of the deaths reported in China. China has recently lifted many of its travel restrictions.
In the United States, there has been an uptick in coronavirus-related deaths, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The data indicate that over 500 people per day have died this month from COVID-19.
Although COVID-19 remains more deadly than other similar viruses in the U.S., it is a far cry from the previous two winters, when the virus was responsible for killing thousands per day.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said COVID-19, coupled with the flu, RSV and other diseases, is causing a strain on the globe’s health care system.
“Vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics have been critical in preventing severe disease, saving lives and taking the pressure off health systems and health workers,” he said. “But the global response remains hobbled because in too many countries, these powerful, life-saving tools are still not getting to the populations that need them most – especially older people and health workers.”