UTAH (ABC4) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has shown a light at the end of the tunnel for the COVID-19 pandemic. During a weekly press conference, Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the number of weekly reported deaths from COVID-19 was the lowest since the pandemic started in March 2020.

“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus. “If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk for more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty. So let’s seize this opportunity.”

The announcement from the WHO comes just as the state of Utah reported 2,371 cases last week, which is a stark decline from the end pf August when 3,143 new cases were reported. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,034,616 COVID-19 cases with recent reports from the Utah Department of Health showing Utah surpassed 5,000 deaths related to COVID-19, with 5,001 deaths reported.

As numbers in Utah steadily decline, Dr. Ghebreyesus likened the end of COVID-19 to a marathon, saying that a marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view.

“She runs harder, with all the energy she has left. So must we,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said. “We can see the finish line. We’re in a winning position. But now is the worst time to stop running.”

The WHO called on countries around the world to continue testing and working towards complete vaccination. The organization urged countries to maintain infection prevention and control precautions to protect health workers and non-COVID patients within health facilities.

“We can end this pandemic together but only if all countries, manufacturers, communities, and individuals step up and seize this opportunity,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus.