bedridden patient, family member and doctor in hospital room

It is time for the international community to recognize COVID-19 as an endemic disease and end the pandemic health emergency, the World Health Organization announced Friday.

The decision came following deliberations by the United Nations agency’s International Health Regulations committee. Members pointed to a steadily decreasing trend in COVID-19  deaths, the decline in related hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, and high levels of population immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

The WHO’s general director has determined that “COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” the committee said in a statement

The WHO also issued temporary recommendations for continued efforts by U.N member states to address COVID-19. These included improving readiness for future outbreaks; maintaining efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage for people in high-risk groups; and supporting long-term authorization and use of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

LTC and emergency declarations 

The news comes as long-term care facilities in the United States prepare for the official end to national and public health emergency declarations on May 11. CMS has issued guidance for facilities about remaining regulatory waivers and interim final rule requirements. 

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