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Covid-19 far from becoming endemic, if vaccination level drops epidemics can break out again: WHO

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Geneva, Apr 15: Covid-19 is far from becoming an endemic disease and could still trigger large epidemics around the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Covid-19 far from becoming endemic, if vaccination level drops epidemics can break out again: WHO

Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, indicated that it was wrong to assume that the Covid is over as the cases have come down. "I certainly do not believe we've reached anything close to an endemic situation with this virus. That is not an endemic disease yet," Dr. Ryan told a live question-and-answer session on the WHO's social media channels.

He said it had not settled down into any seasonal pattern or transmission pattern, and was still quite volatile, still capable of causing huge epidemics. "That is not an endemic disease yet."

Citing tuberculosis and malaria as endemic diseases, he said, "Don't believe that endemic equals it's over, it's mild or not a problem. That's not the case at all," Dr. Ryan said.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 is still causing "huge amounts of death and devastation". "We're still in the middle of this pandemic. We all wish that we weren't. But we are not in an endemic stage," she said.

Dr. Ryan explained that often, once-epidemic diseases settle down into an endemic pattern, focusing on a particular section of the population. He warned that epidemics might break out like measles if the vaccination level drops.

Last week, the deaths due to Covid-19 dropped to its lowest since the early days of the pandemic. Yet over 20,000 deaths were reported for which Ryan says "still too many... we should be happy but we shouldn't be satisfied".

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