A Palestinian boy plays past a mural depicting a virus and a message calling people to take preventive measures against the covid-19 disease at al-Shati camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City

Is the COVID-19 pandemic over?

President Joe Biden said that the pandemic has ended. Here's what scientists say.

On August 29, 2022, at the al-Shati camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City, a boy pedals past a mural depicting a virus and a message urging people to take preventive measures against COVID-19.
Photograph by Majdi Fath, NurPhoto/Getty Images

After more than two and a half years of COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, many people are yearning for an official nod that marks the pandemic’s end. And watching the news last week could have led many to conclude that we’ve finally reached that point.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press conference that the end of the pandemic is in sight. A few days later, United States President Joe Biden declared during an interview on 60 Minutes, “The pandemic is over.” But he also acknowledged, “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it.”

A pandemic is a disease outbreak spanning several countries that affects many people. The WHO is responsible for declaring when an outbreak has grown into a pandemic and deciding when it stops being a public health emergency of international concern. Worldwide, COVID-19 is still causing nearly 1,600 deaths each day and case numbers haven’t plateaued at a low level, leading WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, to conclude, “It’s still a little premature to say that we’re over it.”

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