Friday marked the second anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic. According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “we made that assessment six weeks after we declared COVID-19 a global health emergency – when there were fewer than 100 cases, and no deaths outside China.” According to the latest numbers from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, there have been more than 453 million COVID-19 cases and more than 6 million deaths reported worldwide.
According to the WHO’s latest pandemic report, the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic comes as cases and deaths are declining in most of the world. In the United States, hospitalizations have fallen 80% in the last six weeks. Cases and deaths have also decreased since the peak of the Omicron variant in mid-January. As the cases began to fall, states and cities began lifting restrictions, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its mask recommendation.
“I know that everyone is anxious to move beyond this pandemic and some of the ways we had to change the way we have to live over the last two years,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last month. “We all share the same goal to get to a point where COVID-19 is no longer disrupting our daily lives, a time when it won’t be a constant crisis.”
The only part of the world seeing an increase in cases is the Western Pacific. China reported 397 cases of local transmission nationwide on Friday.
In response, the Chinese government ordered a lockdown for the 9 million residents living in the city of Changchun Friday. Residents are required to remain at home, with one family member permitted to venture out to buy food and other necessities every two days. All residents must undergo three rounds of mass testing, while non-essential businesses have been closed and transport links suspended.
“Although reported cases and deaths are declining globally, and several countries have lifted restrictions, the pandemic is far from over – and it will not be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this week.