World Health Organization ends Covid-19 Global Emergency

Next steps still need to be determined
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 5:09 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The World Health Organization is ending the Covid-19 global emergency on Friday.

“It is a big moment. It’s a big moment for the world,” said Dr. Bill Hartman with UW Health.

It does not mean the pandemic is over or that covid-19 is no longer a concern, but it does mean we’ve gotten to a point where the virus can be managed on a local level.

Dr. Hartman said there’s enough community immunity, whether through vaccinations or previous infections, where we have the tools in place to manage any sort of waves of infection that happen in the future.

When WHO declared the global emergency more than 3 years ago, it allowed countries to work together to limit the spread by shutting down borders and limiting travel.

Dr. Hartman said covid-19 continues to be monitored in the state. A look at recent numbers shows over the past 7 days, the state averaged 179 cases and 4 deaths per day. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin hospital association reported 181 covid-19 patients in hospitals around the state, with 23 of them in the ICU. “Covid is here to stay. Covid is going to be a disease around us probably for the rest of our lives with the way that it mutates and changes,” said Dr. Hartman.

It’s the reason Dr. Hartman stresses the importance of continued research into vaccines, long covid symptoms and the ever-changing virus itself.