The COVID-19 pandemic feels as if it is coming to an end in the United States, with cases falling so far in recent weeks that much of the nation’s daily case reporting is starting to be rolled back, but the World Health Organization (WHO) is still warning that it is too early to feel comfortable living with Covid as the virus has seen increased spread across Europe in recent weeks.
Last week, the world marked two years since the COVID-19 pandemic was first declared by the WHO on March 11, 2020.
The anniversary came as the country started to get ready to move on from the pandemic, with every single state rolling back Covid orders, and many moving to more limited daily Covid reporting as well.
Daily reporting has been limited in recent weeks. BNO Newsroom, a small news agency which emerged as one of the stars of the pandemic due to its detailed daily Covid reporting from all around the world, closed down its data tracking on Saturday.
Johns Hopkins University, which also has one of the most accurate and up-to-date daily trackers, did not report figures on Sunday either.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove (left) of the WHO warned that it is too early to move beyond Covid, and that the ‘flood’ is still happening. Dr Mike Ryan (right) of the WHO warned that lifting restrictions and allowing cases to rise adds more uncertainty into people’s lives
This signals a shift in the way Americans view Covid. Like the flu, the day-to-day case levels may not be as important to citizens as they once were, and as the country transitions into living alongside the virus in an endemic setting.
Leaders at the WHO are warning that it is still too early to believe the pandemic is over, though, and point to the current situation in Europe as an example.
The UK, which often trends ahead of the U.S., has seen daily Covid cases spike over the past week. Like the U.S., cases began to crater across the pond in late January.
Dropping cases made health and government officials – and average Britons – confident the pandemic was nearing an end. Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted all Covid restrictions in February, declaring the nation as back to ‘normal’.
Cases have since began to rise, though health officials are not quite worried yet. Sajid Javid, the nation’s health secretary, said that the recent rise in cases was expected by health officials after restrictions were lifted, and that there is no reason to panic.
A similar course of events have played out across other European countries like Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Italy in recent weeks as well, with cases jumping once again after a laxing of pandemic related mandates.
During a Q&A session last week, two WHO officials warned that relaxing Covid restrictions opens the door to these types of scenarios.
‘What we don’t want to be doing is right now live through inaction because we’re tired of it,’ Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said.
‘You’ll continue to hear our frustration because we are all living this every day and we want this over as much as you do, but we can’t will it away and we’re still very much in this flood.’
He colleague said that lifting these restrictions increased the level of uncertainty in the population, which can hurt everyone.
‘We don’t want people sitting up day and night worried about what’s going to happen with SARS-CoV-2, or Covid,’ Dr Mike Ryan of the WHO said.
While Europe getting slammed by the virus right now could be a sign of things to come for the U.S., the nation is still currently in a favorable situation. As of Friday, the country was averaging 34,822 cases per day, a 29 percent drop over the past week.
The 1,279 deaths being averaged every day was also a 13 percent drop over the past week.
The U.S. has recorded a total of 79,517,492 Covid cases as of Saturday morning, the most recently available data. America has also suffered 967,552 deaths. Both figures lead the world.