GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The World Health Organization (WHO) says COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency. Nearly seven million people died during the pandemic. Dr. Bill Hartman says learning from the deaths has minimized the emergency.

“It means in the most symbolic way that the world can start to get back to normal locally it feels as though that has been happening both here and in other countries,” stated the anesthesiologist from UW Health.

He continued on to say with vaccines and testing, many have become immune to the virus.

“There’s enough immunity within our community to manage any fires that pop up,” explained Dr. Hartman. “I think that we have the tools in place to deal with covid.”

COVID-19 was declared a health emergency in January 2020. CEO of Prevea Health, Dr.Ashok Rai, says that while COVID-19 is no longer an emergency, the virus continues to live among us.

“It is a good day,” stated Dr. Rai. “It tells us that the world has built up enough immunity to move on, but also remember that the virus is still here, it is still a threat, just not as much of a threat as it used to be.”

Dr. Rai says safety precautions should still be taken to combat the virus.
“To somebody who does not have a good level of immunity or who may lose a level of immunity due to other sicknesses, the virus could still be very deadly,” explained Dr. Rai.

Wearing a face mask and social distancing are just two of the many ways you can protect yourself from the virus. Dr. Hartman suggests being mindful of the virus regardless of its threat level.

“Even though it’s the end of the public health emergency, it doesn’t mean that Covid has gone away. In fact, Covid is probably here for eternity, it evolves, it mutates very quickly, it will always kind of be lurking, and we have to keep an eye out for it,” said Dr. Hartman.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of COVID-19, doctors recommend testing.