Despite the WHO reporting this week `Globally, nearly 2.8 million new cases and over 17 000 deaths were reported in the last 28 days (3 to 30 April 2023)' - and that was based on only about 20% of the world's countries still bothering to regularly report hospitalizations, ICU admissions, or deaths - the World Health Organization declared the COVID emergency was over on Friday.
To be fair, over the past year almost every nation around the world had already decided - for economic, political, and societal reasons - to cease treating COVID as an ongoing crisis.
COVID was simply a message the world no longer wanted to hear.
But the virus hasn't gone away. And in some parts of the world (see chart below), it appears to be on the ascendant again. We can expect to see new variants, and intermittent waves of infection, to spread around the world for the foreseeable future.
And while 99%+ will likely survive their acute illness, we have pretty compelling evidence that every re-infection increases the chances of developing serious cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary, neurological, and endocrine disorders.
A few (of many) studies on post-COVID sequelae include:
All reasons why, later this morning I'll be rolling up my sleeve to get my 2nd bivalent-booster shot, which was authorized by the CDC late last month for certain vulnerable groups of people, including everyone over the age of 65.
I also plan to continue to wear a face mask when I'm in crowded indoor spaces, to continue to carry (and use) my little bottle of hand sanitizer, and will certainly get the flu shot and (hopefully) a COVID vaccine in the fall.
Obviously, everyone will have to evaluate their own tolerance for risk.
While I would love for the COVID threat to be genuinely over, that is up to the virus, not the whims of governmental policy.
Of course, if this plan is successful, we could easily eliminate crime, cancer, and poverty in the same way; by simply agreeing not to report it.
What could possibly go wrong?