The spread of the coronavirus across the planet continues to represent a continuous risk and covid-19 is still a dangerous infectious disease with the capacity to cause substantial damage to people and to the health systems of nations.
Faced with this scenario, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed this Monday (30) that it maintains the status of a public health emergency of international concern for the pandemic.
On the list of global concerns are the fake newsthe lack of access to the vaccine – mainly in countries with lower economic power – the decrease in testing and even the relaxation of surveillance and the decrease in the number of genetic sequencing researches.
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All these factors make it impossible to be certain that the pandemic will no longer pose a threat to the health systems of nations. The challenges are not only related to infections, but also extend to the long-term treatment of sequelae and persistent symptoms.
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The decision to maintain the global emergency condition for covid-19 was informed by the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who participated in a videoconference with members of the WHO emergencies committee. The virtual meeting took place on the same date that the declaration that the planet is experiencing a pandemic turned 3 years old.
In the text report on the meeting, the organization highlighted concern about the continued evolution of the coronavirus and the significant decrease in the reporting of data on infections, hospitalizations and deaths by countries. Without data sharing, there is no way to be sure about the real propagation pace, which undermines the answers.
In addition, the entity recognizes that society is experiencing a kind of “pandemic fatigue”. Added to the reduced public perception of the risks of the coronavirus, this situation has led to the abandonment of essential measures, such as the use of masks and social distancing.
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Another critical point is the so-called vaccine hesitation, fueled by the spread of false news and lying conspiracy theories about the vaccine against covid-19.
“WHO is urging countries to remain vigilant and continue to report data from surveillance and genomic sequencing; Recommending risk-based public health and social measures, vaccinating populations most at risk to minimize serious illness and death, and conducting regular risk communications, responding to population concerns and engaging communities to improve understanding and implementation of countermeasures.” , says the text.
Still according to the organization’s conclusions, the disease may be approaching a tipping point, but there is no doubt that the coronavirus will continue to affect humans and animals in the future.
Therefore, it is essential that countries commit to long-term measures. Mitigating severe cases and deaths must remain the main goal. Concentrated and articulated commitment among nations is essential to determine the end of the global emergency condition.
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It is also necessary to define alternative mechanisms that maintain a permanent focus on the control and prevention of covid-19, even when it ceases to represent an emergency for the entire planet.
Seven recommendations were presented to WHO management and WHO member states. Maintaining vaccination campaigns to achieve 100% coverage is the first of these. Countries need to plan the integration of immunization against covid-19 into the vaccination schedule applied throughout life.
Increasing access to testing and treatment is also considered essential, as is increasing the dissemination of data on spread. Also on the list is the urgency of strengthening response capacity and preparing health systems for possible new outbreaks.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
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