The virus that causes COVID-19 has more letters to describe its many derivatives than a bowl of alphabet soup. (mrs / Moment RF / Getty Images)

Although the common cold doesn’t get as many names – at least not the ones that make headlines – the specificity with which scientists talk about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, matters because it is still such a problem.

For the first time, a semi-independent committee for the World Health Organization said it’s determined that aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener found in thousands of products like diet sodas and sugar-free gum, should be put categorized as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” (SabdiZ / iStockphoto / Getty Images)

Aspartame is a popular artificial sweetener found in thousands of products like diet sodas and sugar-free gum. It’s considered one of the most studied food additives in existence.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, speaks to journalists during a press conference about the Global WHO on World Health Day and the 75th anniversary at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday April 6, 2023. (Martial Trezzini / Keystone via AP)

The U.N. health agency’s officials said that even though the emergency phase was over, the pandemic hasn’t ended, noting recent spikes in cases in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

A registered nurse and immunization outreach coordinator with the Knox County Health Department, administers a vaccination to a kid at the facility in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Friday May 17, 2019. (AP Photo / Paul Vernon, File)

In a report issued Wednesday, the WHO and the CDC said millions of children were now susceptible to measles, among the world’s most contagious diseases. In 2021, officials said there were about 9 million measles infections and 128,000 deaths worldwide.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid test at a community testing site for COVID-19 in Yunyan District of Guiyang, Sept. 5, 2022. (Yang Wenbin / Xinhua via AP)

At a press briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world has never been in a better position to stop COVID-19. The U.N. health agency said deaths fell by 22% in the past week, at just over 11,000 reported worldwide. There were 3.1 million new cases, a drop of 28%.

(WTTW News)

In its latest weekly assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. health agency said there were 5.3 million new cases and more than 14,000 deaths reported last week. WHO said the number of new infections declined in every world region except the Western Pacific.

(CNN)

Additional monkeypox vaccines are arriving in Chicago, but they will be in limited supply. This as the World Health Organization this declared monkeypox a public health emergency. 

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner / CDC via AP, File)

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday he decided to convene the emergency committee on June 23 because the virus has shown “unusual” recent behavior by spreading in countries well beyond parts of Africa, where it is endemic.

A worker in protectively overalls and carrying disinfecting equipment walks outside the Wuhan Central Hospital, China on Feb. 6, 2021. (AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, File)

That stance marks a sharp reversal of the U.N. health agency’s initial assessment of the pandemic’s origins. WHO concluded last year that it was “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 might have spilled into humans from a lab.

Two people wearing masks walk in Regents Park in London, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo / Frank Augstein, File)

There were more than 12 million new weekly cases and just under 33,000 deaths, a 23% decline in mortality, according to the U.N. health agency’s report on the pandemic issued late Tuesday.

Can you get long COVID after an infection with omicron? (AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin)

It’s too early to know for sure, but many doctors believe it’s possible to have long-term effects from the omicron variant of the virus.

In this Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 file photo, a health worker prepares Pfizer vaccines during the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Pamplona, northern Spain. (AP Photo / Alvaro Barrientos, File)

The head of the World Health Organization is calling on rich countries with large supplies of coronavirus vaccines to refrain from offering booster shots through the end of the year, expanding an earlier request that has largely fallen on deaf ears.

In this Monday, May 24, 2021 file photo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a bilateral meeting with Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset at the WHO headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Laurent Gillieron / Keystone via AP, File)

The head of the World Health Organization said the COVID-19 delta variant, first seen in India, is “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far,” and warned it is now spreading in at least 85 countries.

In this Feb. 9, 2021, file photo, Peter Ben Embarek of the World Health Organization team holds up a chart showing pathways of transmission of the virus during a joint news conference at the end of the WHO mission in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. (AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, File)

A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press. 

In this Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 file photo, Michael Ryan, left, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies program, next to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, right, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), addresses a press conference about the update on COVID-19 at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Salvatore Di Nolfi / Keystone via AP, File)

A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death.

Marion Koopmans, right, and Peter Ben Embarek, center, of the World Health Organization team say farewell to their Chinese counterpart Liang Wannian, left, after a WHO-China Joint Study Press Conference held at the end of the WHO mission in Wuhan, China, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (AP Photo / Ng Han Guan)

The coronavirus most likely first appeared in humans after jumping from an animal, a team of international and Chinese scientists looking for the origins of COVID-19 said Tuesday, dismissing as unlikely an alternate theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab.