After three years, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the COVID-19 global emergency status. WHO now recommends that countries begin independently managing the virus that has caused the death of 6.9 million people.
Data shows that the virus’ death rate dropped from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 on April 24, 2023.
There were over 100 million cases in the U.S. and over one million deaths. Indiana has had over two million confirmed cases and over 25,000 deaths.
“The committee met for the fifteenth time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. It’s, therefore, with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Still be cautious about COVID-19
For the past year the COVID-19 Emergency Committee and WHO have been analyzing data carefully. They were contemplating when the right time would be to lower the alarm level.
However, Dr. Tedros said this doesn’t mean that the global threat is over.
Just last week, COVID claimed a life every three minutes, and Dr. Tedros said that is just the deaths they know about.
“This virus is here to stay. It is still killing. It is still changing. The risk remains of new variants emerging that causes new surges in cases and deaths,” said Dr. Tedros.
According to Dr. Tedros, the worst thing a country could do now is use this news as a reason to let down its guard, dismantle the systems it has built or send a message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about.
How Covid-19 affected Indiana
The first positive case of COVID-19 in Indiana was confirmed in Marion County on March 6, 2020.
The first two years of the pandemic touched all aspects of Hoosier life. Hospitals didn’t have enough beds for non-COVID patients. Schools were shut down, and learning had to be done virtually. Some businesses had to close.
Though there was struggle, stories of neighbors helping neighbors during the emergency health crisis emerged as a way to overcome.
Over the past three years, the Indianapolis Recorder has shared 255 stories related to COVID-19.
All of those stories have been compiled in a list for archive HERE.
State and health officials provided weekly updates of data and statistics pertaining to the spread of the virus. Gov. Eric Holcomb declared the end of Indiana’s COVID-19 public emergency after nearly two years in March 2022.
Although it may appear that talks of the virus are over, just 9 months ago cases started to see a rise because of the Omicron BA.5 variant.
In April 2023, the Indiana House voted 78-21 to approve Senate Bill 4 to include a provision requiring an investigation of the state’s response to COVID-19.
Republican Rep. Chris Jeter said the House plans to establish a task force.
The proposed 12-member Health Powers Review Task Force would be comprised of eight Republican lawmakers and four Democrats charged with spending two years assessing the actions taken by state and local governments aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON