Charlotte, N.C. (Queen City News) – World Health Organization leaders said Wednesday that the official end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight.

They pointed to the sharp decline in total weekly deaths. Data shows that 11,313 people died from illness complications the week of Sept. 5, 2022.

That’s down from the peak of COVID-related deaths in Jan. 2021, when 102,115 people died from the disease.

WHO directors said weekly reported deaths have not been this low since mid-March 2020.

“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

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Officials’ optimism came with a warning. They said if people stay up to date with their booster shots and stay home when they’re sick, the health crisis could end soon.

“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view. She runs harder with all of the energy she has left. So must we,” Ghebreyesus said. “We can see the finish line. We are in a winning position, but now is the worst time to stop running.”

Mecklenburg County officials report the area is now in the lowest measurable level of community spread.

In the first week of September, hospital staff admitted eight people with COVID-like sickness, and four people in the county died from the disease. Nearly 68% of Mecklenburg County residents have at least one COVID vaccine dose, and about 38% have at least one booster dose.