Covid-19 will soon be comparable to the threat of seasonal flu, the World Health Organization said today, as it hopes to lower its maximum alert level this year.

“I think we’re getting to the point where we can look at Covid-19 the same way we look at seasonal flu, which is a health threat, a virus that will continue to kill, but it’s a virus that’s not disrupting our society. or our health systems,” WHO emergency program chief Michael Ryan told a news conference.

Joining him, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “very pleased to find that, for the first time, the weekly number of deaths reported in the last four weeks was lower than when we used the word ‘pandemic’ for first time, three years ago.”

“We are certainly in a much better position today than at any time during the pandemic,” he said.

He therefore said he was “confident” the WHO could lower the maximum alert level “this year”.

The WHO declared this a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30, 2020 – when the world had fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside China – but it was in March 2020, when Tedros had declared the situation a pandemic, that the world fully realized the seriousness of the threat to health.

“We had declared a global health emergency to urge countries to take decisive action, but not all did,” he said today.

“Three years later, almost seven million deaths from Covid-19 have been reported, although we know the number of deaths from it is higher,” he added.