The World Health Organization (WHO) has again reminded the world community about the dangers of Covid-19. The WHO recently clarified that when a disease becomes endemic, Covid-19 can still cause suffering and death.
Speaking to reporters, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said we need to be careful about the word endemic.
“Yes, endemic means, that the virus is present and transmitted at a lower rate, usually with some form of seasonal transmission or a seasonal increase or outbreak over an endemic situation,” he explained.
The public health specialist also explained that although lower transmission rates are classic for many infectious diseases, the endemic HIV, endemic tuberculosis, and endemic malaria kill millions of people on the planet every year.
Emphasizing that fact, he again reminded, “Please don’t equate endemic with equally good.”
“Endemic diseases need strong control programs to reduce infections, reduce suffering, reduce deaths. Going from pandemic to endemic just changes the label. It doesn’t change the challenges we face,” said Dr. Ryan.
How about Indonesia?
The government is in no hurry to declare a transition into an endemic era. This was stated by the Spokesperson for the COVID-19 Vaccination of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi.
Launching the kemkes.go.id page, the reason the government is not in a hurry to make the transition from pandemic to endemic is that the transition process towards endemic normalization does not mean that there are no COVID-19 cases at all, but that there will still be cases.
“To get rid of a disease that takes a longer time, of course, we must be prepared to continue to coexist with COVID-19,” he said at a virtual press conference in Jakarta, Tuesday (15/3).