WHO leaders optimistic pandemic will slow down in 2022
Despite the “tsunami” of COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant, officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) are optimistic the virus “will subside” next year.
“I am very concerned that Omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday during ‘a press conference.
Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergency program, said it would be a “bumpy road” to low levels of COVID.
“The pandemic that has been associated with the tragedy of deaths and hospitalizations, which may end in 2022,” Ryan said. “It is very unlikely that the virus itself will go away completely and will likely settle into a low level transmission pattern.”
Tedros called on WHO members to take a “New Year’s resolution” to vaccinate 70% of the country’s population by next July. It comes after 92 of 194 member countries failed to meet the goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021.
He also called on government leaders to improve the collective response to COVID and to “speak the talk” on vaccine equity next year.
“Ending health inequalities remains the key to ending the pandemic,” he said.
Tedros added that he was “optimistic” that next year “we can not only end the acute phase of the pandemic” but “pave the way for greater health security”.
READ MORE: High death rates and hospitalizations from COVID could end in 2022: WHO