The World Health Organization has decided that COVID is still a global health emergency.

But they say 90% of the world has achieved some immunity.

People have either been vaccinated or have had the virus and have gotten a certain amount of immunity from it.

The Belmont County deputy health commissioner explains what that means.

“We’re still listed as an emergency,” said Rob Sproul. “It’s going to start moving toward more of an endemic like the flu. But we’re still seeing deaths. Throughout the world there were about 170,000 in the past few weeks. But the medical community is getting a handle on it with vaccines and anti-virals. So they’re understanding more, and we’re in a better place.”

WHO officials say the world will probably transition out of the emergency phase this year.

Sproul says COVID protection will probably end up being a yearly shot like the flu shot.

He says it has not yet been decided whether it will be given at a particular time of year, like the flu shot is given in the fall, or whether each person will be eligible a year after their last one.