‘Covid emergency phase to end in 2023’

Dr. Maria van Kerkhove. Photo from WHO

A FILIPINO infectious disease expert has echoed the observation of the World Health Organization that the Covid-19 pandemic will end in 2023.

Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvaña of the University of the Philippines–National Institutes of Health said that while the emergency phase of the pandemic might end this year, Covid-19 will likely become an endemic disease like influenza and dengue as its movements become predictable.

“There are still people dying from severe Covid, while others do not want to get vaccinated, but at least our impact predictions show that our hospitals will not get overwhelmed and other public health threats will be managed,” Salvaña said during a public briefing on Thursday.

Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for Covid-19, said on social media that they see 2023 as the last year of the pandemic.

“I do think that this year, the fourth year of our pandemic, where we can really end this as an emergency. We are on track for that, as we are in a position where we can track this virus and treat these patients for severe disease,” van Kerkhove said.

She added that countries should know how to use the different tools that have been developed over the past three years, such as vaccines and medicines against the virus, as well as health surveillance measures.

Salvaña said that extending the state of a public health emergency would depend on several factors among them vaccine administration and pay of health care workers.

In a previous briefing, Department of Health (DoH) Officer in Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that while the DoH has recommended the extension of the state of a public health emergency, it would respect President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s decision on the matter.

“We will heed to the decision of the Office of the President if and when not to extend [the state of public health emergency],” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Salvaña reiterated that bivalent vaccines afford extra protection against severe disease due to the Omicron subvariant.

“We will wait for the data on the second bivalent vaccine, but the first bivalent vaccine will give protection against infection and severity, especially on newer Omicron sublineages,” Salvaña said.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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