Covid-19: WHO admits lowering alert level and compares disease to seasonal flu

"I think we're getting to the point where we can look at Covid-19 the same way we look at seasonal flu"

The World Health Organization (WHO) admitted today, March 17, to reduce this year the maximum alert level in force for Covid-19, claiming that the impact of the disease could soon be compared to that of the seasonal flu.

“I think we're getting to the point where we can look at Covid-19 the same way we look at seasonal flu, which is a health threat, a virus that will continue to kill but that doesn't disrupt society or systems. hospitals", said the head of WHO emergency programs Michael Ryan, at a press conference.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed himself "very pleased to see that, for the first time, the weekly number of deaths reported in the last four weeks was lower" than when the pandemic was declared about three years ago.

«Certainly we are in a much better position today than at any other time during the pandemic», assured the head of the organization, who was still «confident» that the WHO will be able to lower its maximum level of alert «this year» for the Covid-19.

The WHO advanced with the level of international public health emergency on January 30, 2020, when the world had less than 100 cases of infection and no deaths outside China, but the pandemic situation was only declared in March of the same year.

"We declared a global health emergency to urge countries to take decisive action, but not all have done so", acknowledged Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noting that, three years later, the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus is greater than the nearly seven million officially registered in the world.

At the end of January, the director general of WHO decided to maintain the maximum level of alert for Covid-19, after another meeting of his emergency committee, a body that has met periodically to assess the situation of the pandemic, but experts recognized that a 'tipping point' was approaching.

According to the most recent data from the organization, released on Thursday, since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 760 million cases and about 6,8 million deaths caused by covid-19 have been registered worldwide.

Between February 13 and March 12, almost 4,1 million new infections and 28.000 deaths were reported, a decrease of 40% and 57%, respectively, compared to the previous 28 days globally.

In Europe, the WHO advances that more than 1,5 million new cases were registered, an increase of 20% compared to the previous 28 days, but the number of deaths dropped by 26% to 9.274 reported deaths.

WHO recognizes, however, that data on infections and reinfections are underestimated, due in part to reduced testing and reporting delays in many countries.

Covid-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a type of virus that was detected three years ago in China and has spread rapidly around the world, taking on several variants and subvariants, some more contagious than others.