World Health Organization to vote on ending COVID-19 pandemic declaration

Amanda Aguilar Image
Saturday, January 28, 2023
World Health Organization to vote on ending COVID-19 pandemic declaration
The World Health Organization is meeting to discuss if the COVID-19 pandemic should be considered over.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- March 11, 2020, was the day everything changed.

The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic for the first time in a decade due to the Coronavirus.

It's been nearly three years since then, and health organization's emergency committee must now decide -- is the virus still a threat?

"I know people who are still getting sick," says Valley resident Vanessa Bailey. "I know people who have Long COVID. That still worries me."

We spoke to people out and about in northeast Fresno.

Most did not want to be on camera or identified, but most say it's just too early to consider the pandemic over.

Everyone we talked to acknowledged that life feels different compared to two years ago, especially with many COVID-19 restrictions lifted.

However, they'd still like people to take health and safety precautions when necessary.

"I want to see people continue to take precautions in crowded areas or certain circumstances where there might be more vulnerable people around," Bailey said.

Fresno County health leaders agree.

Dr. Rais Vohra sent a statement saying, "Even if the emergency phase of the pandemic is declared to be behind us, it is crucial for individuals to continue to practice safety measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, and regularly washing their hands to slow the spread of the virus and protect themselves and others."

He also encourages people to get the most current recommended bi-valent vaccines.

UCSF Fresno, which offers free COVID testing and vaccinations, is closely monitoring updates from county, state and world health leaders.

A spokeswoman says their drive-thru clinic is funded through April. After that, they'll decide what's next based on the needs but plan to work with partners to continue services.

The World Health Organization's director-general ultimately makes the final decision but usually follows the emergency committee's advice.

A decision is set to be announced on Monday.