On Monday, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 pandemic is at a "transition point" but remains a public health emergency. The WHO's International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met on Friday to analyze data and the agency's Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that there is still a high risk of global transmission.
Dr. Tedros encouraged groups at higher risk of severe disease and death to be fully vaccinated and boosted, as well as for more countries to ramp up testing and use antivirals for those who test positive for COVID-19. Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital, said the WHO's comments show that the agency recognizes the public health emergency is winding down but that the virus's threat remains. He added that the danger of COVID is still very real, with deaths twice as high from COVID as they are from the flu.
Overall, the WHO and other experts are urging caution and preventive measures in order to protect vulnerable populations. The pandemic is still a risk to global health and therefore continued vaccination and other measures are necessary. It is important to continue to observe safety protocols such as social distancing and wearing a mask in public.