WHO Ends COVID-19 Global Health Emergency
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to its designation of COVID-19 as a global health emergency on Friday.
Due to a decreasing trend in COVID-19 deaths, a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, and widespread immunity, the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said the virus no longer warrants an emergency response in a statement published Friday.
The WHO first declared COVID-19 a global health emergency in January 2020. Since then, nearly seven million COVID-19-related deaths have been reported to the organization. While recent data suggests COVID-19 infections are better controlled, Ghebreyesus acknowledged that surveillance of the virus has decreased, life-saving interventions are still inaccessible to many worldwide, and there is growing pandemic fatigue.
To help countries transition to long-term management of the virus, the WHO published the 2023-2025 COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. The plan advises public health officials to focus on five areas: collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures, and emergency coordination.
The director-general also encouraged states to follow the WHO’s temporary recommendations for the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations suggest that states update their pandemic preparedness plans, maintain surveillance of new variants and mortality and morbidity data, counter misinformation, and continue to support research on the impacts of the virus, vaccinations, and relevant treatments.
With a lack of research and conventional treatments for the virus, many patients turned to integrative healthcare for symptom relief, especially from the long-term effects. Certain diet and lifestyle interventions have emerged as popular and effective ways to help recover from COVID-19, even among some conventional doctors.
Although acute infections are generally less severe today, patients continue to suffer from long-COVID. Research on integrative interventions is ongoing, but diet and lifestyle changes like an anti-inflammatory diet, stress management, and some dietary supplements appear promising.
Unfortunately, the end of the WHO’s COVID-19 emergency response does not reduce the need for innovative and natural treatments, especially for long-COVID, which largely remains a mystery.