Getting Answers: reaction to WHO downgrading COVID-19 pandemic

The World Health Organization announced Friday the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 2:37 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The World Health Organization announced Friday the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Although this seems to be a welcome change across the medical community, some health officials still have some concerns.

More than three years ago, the World Health Organization announced a COVID-19 public health emergency in January 2020. At the beginning of that month, there were hundreds of cases and by the end of January, there were about 10,000 cases worldwide, which showed just how rapid COVID-19 spreads.

Things have significantly changed since then. Massachusetts officials reported 897 new cases as of Wednesday and 14 new deaths, which is down from daily numbers in the thousands at the height of the pandemic. The steep decline in cases led to a major announcement on Friday.

“COVID-19 has left and continues to leave deep scars on our world. Those scars must serve as a permanent reminder of the potential for new viruses to emerge with devastating consequences,” said W.H.O. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Western Mass News with Katie Murphy, the president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, to hear her reaction to this announcement after seeing so much death while working on the front lines of the pandemic.

“I feel like it’s still unreal,” Murphy said.

Murphy welcomed Friday’s news, but hopes that the country and the world learn from the COVID-19 virus and the devastation it caused.

“I hope we never see this again, but we have to move forward as if we’re going to see it again next year,” Murphy added.

Adhanom Ghebreyesus agreed. “One of the greatest tragedies of COVID-19 is that it didn’t have to be this way. We have the tools and the technologies to prepare for pandemics better, detect them earlier, to respond to them faster, and to mitigate their impact, but globally, a lack of coordination, a lack of equity, and lack of solidarity meant that those tools were not used as effectively as they could have been. Lives were lost that should not have been. We must promise ourselves and our children and grandchildren that we will never make those mistakes again,” he explained.