Biden said "the pandemic is over"—an assertion he made as Covid-19 kills nearly 11,000 people across the planet each week, including roughly 3,000 in the U.S. alone. More than 1 million people worldwide died from the disease during the first eight months of 2022, and the number of fatalities caused directly and indirectly by the ongoing public health crisis that began in late 2019 surpassed 15 million earlier this year.
WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward warned that richer nations must not step back from tackling COVID-19 as a global problem now, ahead of future potential waves of infection. Aylward said that the group he co-ordinates, which focuses on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests worldwide, is not yet ready to move out of the emergency phase of tackling the pandemic and that countries need to be ready and have treatments in place for any further waves of infection.
"If you go to sleep right now and this wave hits us in three months... God - blood on your hands," he said.
Experts are anticipating a coronavirus surge this fall and winter that could infect hundreds of millions of people around the world, potentially leading to millions of hospitalizations and hundreds of thousands of additional deaths. Epidemiologists have long warned that the persistence of a massive inoculation gap between rich and poor countries allows the coronavirus to keep circulating and mutating, increasing the likelihood of a vaccine-resistant variant emerging.
People in Africa and other parts of the world remain completely unprotected due to a combination of dose hoarding by high-income nations and knowledge hoarding by pharmaceutical corporations.