Mass. (WWLP) – Top World Health Organization officials say they are optimistic that the pandemic could reach a turning point this year. WHO officials said COVID-19 could end as a ‘global health emergency’ if countries ramp up testing efforts, ensure vaccine equity, and reach a worldwide population that is 70% vaccinated.

They added, however, that it is likely COVID-19 can mutate into more new variants this year. Currently, just over 63% of US residents are fully vaccinated, and 25% of them have received their booster shot.

Here in the state about 76% of Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated, and the latest DPH data show both hospitalizations and new cases are trending downward.

More than 80 million COVID cases had been reported to the WHO since the omicron variant was identified.