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COVID is here to stay, but global emergency could end next year, WHO chief says

Vaccine inequity, long COVID, and weak variant surveillance loom as big challenges.

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Enlarge / WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus looks on during a press conference at the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, on December 14, 2022. (credit: Getty | Fabrice COFFRINI)

As the US appears to be heading into another dreaded winter wave of COVID-19 infections, the World Health Organization is looking further ahead—and finding hope for the end of the global health emergency.

In a press conference on Wednesday in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that discussion of the criteria for declaring the end of the pandemic would begin in January, when the agency’s Emergency Committee will meet.

“We’re hopeful that at some point next year, we will be able to say that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency,” Tedros said.

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