COVID-19 health emergency could be over this year, WHO says

GENEVA (AP) – A leading World Health Organization official says the worst of the coronavirus pandemic – including deaths, hospitalizations and lockdowns – could be over this year if huge inequities in vaccinations and medicines are addressed quickly.

Dr. Michael Ryan, speaking Tuesday on a vaccine inequity panel hosted by the World Economic Forum, said that “we may never end the virus” because such pandemic viruses “end up becoming part of the ecosystem.”

But he says there’s “a chance to end the public health emergency this year if we do the things that we’ve been talking about."

WHO has criticized the imbalance in COVID-19 vaccinations between rich and poor countries as a catastrophic moral failure. Fewer than 10% of people in lower-income countries have received even one vaccine dose.