Covid-19 is still a “threat”, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned today, four years after the outbreak of the pandemic that killed millions of people around the world and brought the global economy to its knees.
“This virus, SARS-CoV-2, is currently circulating in all countries and continues to pose a threat,” said epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkov, who is in charge of the WHO’s technical group on prevention and response to epidemics and pandemics. . “We must remain vigilant, because the virus circulates, evolves and mutates,” he emphasized during an update to the public through social networks.
Four sub-variants under investigation, new cases on the rise
At this stage, three sub-variants of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 (XBB.1.5, XXB.1.16 and EG.5) are under the microscope of experts. A fourth, BA.2.86, is expected to be added, although it has not been reported to cause increased disease severity.
“We have seen a slow but steady increase in cases around the world,” noted Maria Van Kerkov.
Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency on January 30, 2020, the highest level of alert, which finally came on May 5, 2023.
Long Covid syndrome is a concern
In addition to the immediate symptoms of Covid-19, the WHO has not hidden its concern about the long-term effects caused by the disease, the so-called long Covid syndrome.
“We have evidence showing that vaccination against Covid-19 reduces the risk” of long-term effects, said Maria Van Kerkov. It said around 13.5 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered worldwide since the end of 2020, urging citizens in the northern hemisphere – where winter is just around the corner – to get vaccinated against flu and the disease caused by the coronavirus. .