WHO Warns of Persistent High Global Health Risks from Covid-19 Despite Drop in Deaths

The World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that the global public health risks posed by Covid-19 remain high, despite a significant reduction in deaths compared to two years ago. This assessment was provided by Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO's epidemic and pandemic prevention section, during a UN press conference on Friday.

According to Philippines News Agency, while reported Covid-19 cases may give an impression of the virus receding, this is not the case globally. "The public risks from Covid remain high. We have a pathogen circulating in all countries," she stated. She highlighted that case-based data reported to WHO is no longer a reliable indicator of the virus's spread, a situation that has persisted for several years.

Despite the appearance in some country data that the virus might be diminishing, WHO data reveals that the number of cases reported worldwide in the last 28 days is 286,562, with more than seven million deaths globally over the past two years. Dr. Van Kerkhove emphasized that the actual circulation of the disease could be between two and 19 times higher than what is reported.

Although there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of deaths since the peak of the pandemic, around 10,000 deaths are still reported monthly, based on data from 50 countries. Over half of the deaths reported in December were in the United States, with Italy accounting for about 1,000.

Dr. Van Kerkhove also pointed out that many deaths might be going unreported by countries, stating, "But that does not mean that patients are not dying." Additionally, there was a noted increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions, with a 42 percent and 62 percent rise respectively from November to December, excluding any data from January. With the recent holiday season and New Year gatherings, the WHO expects these numbers to continue to rise.