GENEVA, HOUSTON – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says we are reaching a turning point in the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO reports the number of coronavirus deaths last week hit the lowest reported number since March 2020.

Meanwhile, Texas deaths are also on the decline after a small bump in August. The highest 7-day moving average for deaths was 30 COVID-realted fatalities on August 19, 2022. According to the latest complete data from the CDC, the 7-day moving average is 16 fatalities as of September 16, 2022.*

During a press briefing, the WHO Director-General warns the pandemic isn’t over and the virus “keeps changing, taking unnecessary lives.” But he did offer encouragement noting the end is in sight.

“We are much better prepared so there is really reason for optimism. The most important is that countries have a strong surveillance system in place so they are able to quickly detect if there will be a new variant.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

In its weekly report, the U.N. health agency said deaths fell by 22% in the past week, at just over 11,000 reported worldwide.

“We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” he said, comparing the effort to that made by a marathon runner nearing the finish line. “Now is the worst time to stop running,” Ghebreyesus said. “Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap all the rewards of our hard work.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said the organization expected future waves of the disease, but was hopeful those would not cause many deaths.

* SOURCE: CDC COVID Data Tracker

The Associated Press contributed to this report.