Covid-19 ’emergency’ ended in 2023 but the virus still lingers

A nurse prepares a shot for Jonathan Halter as the German embassy begins its roll out of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for German expatriates at a Beijing United Family hospital in Beijing, China January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

A covid-19 vaccine being prepared in Beijing in January

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

When it comes to covid-19, 2023 was different to the pandemic’s previous three years. Across the globe, hospitalisations and deaths reached all-time lows. On 5 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the virus was no longer a public health emergency, suggesting the pandemic’s crisis phase had ended.

“It is a really important inflection point of accomplishment,” says Maria Van Kerkhove at the WHO. “But that’s not the end of the story. While the crisis is over, the virus is still with us.”…