WHO Says COVID-19 Is Still a Global Health Emergency, at ‘Transition Point’

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
January 30, 2023COVID-19
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WHO Says COVID-19 Is Still a Global Health Emergency, at ‘Transition Point’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters building in Geneva on April 28, 2009. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday stated that the COVID-19 pandemic is still an emergency—three years after it started spreading worldwide from China.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that he hoped the world would transition from the emergency phase in 2023. But his United Nations-backed agency indicated that it’s not time yet.

“We remain hopeful that in the coming year, the world will transition to a new phase in which we reduce hospitalizations and deaths to the lowest possible level, and health systems are able to manage COVID-19 in an integrated and sustainable way,” Tedros said in a statement issued Monday. “We can’t control the virus, but we can do more to address the vulnerabilities in populations and health systems,” he said, while again pushing for vaccinations of “vulnerable” populations.

The WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee held its 14th discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic last week, with Tedros indicating that it should remain an emergency.

“Achieving higher levels of population immunity globally, either through infection and/or vaccination, may limit the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on morbidity and mortality, but there is little doubt that this virus will remain a permanently established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future. As such, long-term public health action is critically needed,” WHO’s committee said in a statement on Monday. “While eliminating this virus from human and animal reservoirs is highly unlikely, mitigation of its devastating impact on morbidity and mortality is achievable and should continue to be a prioritized goal.

“The Director-General acknowledges the Committee’s views that the COVID-19 pandemic is probably at a transition point,” the statement added.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus(WHO)
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on July 3, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via Reuters)

It has been three years since the WHO declared that COVID represented a global health emergency. However, since then, the pandemic situation has changed considerably, said Tedros, particularly through access to counter-measures.

Advisers to the WHO expert committee on the pandemic’s status told Reuters in December that it was likely not the moment to end the emergency given the uncertainty over the recent wave of infections in China.

At the same time, on Monday, WHO officials said that their organization needs more funding. “I think the focus is very much on the programme budget, then sustainable financing,” Timothy Armstrong, WHO director for governing bodies, told Reuters when asked about the agenda.

Also on his list was “the position of the World Health Organization, recognizing there is a need for a reinforced central role for WHO” in the global health emergency system, he said. The health organization is seeking a record $6.86 billion for the 2024-2025 budget, with Armstrong saying that approving this sum would be “a historic move towards a more empowered and independent WHO.”

The United States also remains under a federal public health emergency declaration after the Health and Human Services agency renewed it on Jan. 11 for another 90 days.

Because of China?

Weekly COVID-19 deaths have dropped 70 percent since last February around the world, according to WHO data. But there have been reports that the death toll is on the rise in China.

While WHO did not mention China’s COVID-19 numbers, it’s possible that the declaration Monday was due to the latest COVID-19 death surge inside mainland China, which some analysts and experts say is vastly undercounted. Early on in the pandemic, Tedros was accused of having a cozy relationship with the Chinese Communist Party—namely after he praised the CCP in early 2020 for its response to the pandemic even amid reports that the virus emerged from the country before spreading worldwide.

In a recent opinion piece, sinologist and military adviser Ben Lowsen warned that Chinese nationals could potentially face the country’s largest mass-death event since the Great Chinese Famine, sparked by the CCP’s disastrous Great Leap Forward of 1959 to 1961.

China's Hospitals Under Pressure Due To COVID-19
Patients and caregivers in the closed entrance way of an emergency room being used as an overflow area at a hospital in Shanghai on Jan. 14, 2023. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Lowsen wrote that the Chinese regime also withheld the death tolls during the famine and said an “ominous” repeat may occur. The regime has “essentially” given up on “providing COVID-19 statistics,” he wrote.

During the Great Chinese Famine under the Mao Zedong regime, between 15 to 55 million people died. Historians blamed the famine on Mao’s hardline economic policies that attempted to fill quotas while collectivizing farms.

From The Epoch Times

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