The director general of the World Health Organization said Thursday that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was certainly in sight but still far away, thus moderating his remarks made last week.
“We have spent two and a half years in a long, dark tunnel, and we are only just beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a conference. press from New York, where he is attending the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
“But we are still far from it, and the tunnel is still dark, with many obstacles that could cause us to stumble if we are not careful,” he added.
Dr. Tedros’s words contrast with those of US President Joe Biden, who, in an interview broadcast on Sunday, said the pandemic was “over” in the United States.
But Dr. Tedros had also adopted a more optimistic tone last week.
He tried to explain himself on Thursday: “At press briefings for the past two weeks, I said that the pandemic was not over, but that the end was in sight” and “both are true”.
“Being able to see the end doesn’t mean we’re at the end of the road,” he said.
New cases continue to decline
Asked about the remarks made by the American president, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical manager for the management of the Covid-19 epidemic at the WHO, underlined that the objective of the organization was to “end this emergency everywhere” while recognizing that the epidemiological situation could be different depending on the country.
According to Dr Tedros, the number of deaths reported each week worldwide continues to decline and is now only 10% of what it was at the peak in January 2021. In addition, in most countries, restrictions have taken end and two-thirds of the world’s population are vaccinated, including three-quarters of health workers and the elderly.
“But 10,000 deaths a week is 10,000 too many,” he said.
“We all need hope that we can – and will – get to the end of the tunnel and leave the pandemic behind us. But we are not there yet,” he said.
According to WHO online statistics, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 6.5 million lives worldwide.