It’s almost official: The World Health Organisation (WHO) looks set to declare the Covid-19 pandemic officially over.
In a streamed online press conference, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of WHO, said it expects to declare the pandemic over sometime this year as the virus is becoming more like seasonal flu.
“I am confident that this year we will be able to say that Covid-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern”, Dr Tedros said.
Is the Covid Pandemic Over?
The WHO announcement comes three years after the organization declared the pandemic.
Only last month the Kenyan government stopped publishing its Covid-19 data.
It is estimated that about 5,000 Kenyans died of Covid but fortunately there have been no deaths reported in over two months.
The final decision to declare the Covid-19 pandemic over, and when, will depend on whether population immunity has been reached, i.e. the proportion of people who have antibodies to the virus derived from either immunization, infection or both.
Covid Still a Threat to Health
It is estimated that some 70 per cent of Kenyans have Covid-19 antibodies as a result of natural infection.
Dr Tedros said the virus would continue to be “A threat to health” and “a virus that will continue to kill. But a virus that is not disrupting society or disrupting our hospital systems.”
Last year the Kenya Ministry of Health declared that Kenyans had reached herd immunity through natural infection.
However, Professor Walter Jaoka, the Director of the KAVI-Institute of Clinical Research at the University of Nairobi, advised Kenyans to continue taking Covid-19 vaccines as the virus continues to be a threat.
“In natural infection, there is a risk of serious disease and even death, whereas using vaccination prevents you from getting serious disease, and even from dying”, Prof Jaoka said.
Vaccination Rates Lower in Sub-Saharan Africa
Worldwide some 64 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated but the majority of these are in richer countries.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, vaccinations are as low as 10 per cent of the population in some countries.
In Kenya about 26.5 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated.