COVID-19 a ‘pandemic’: WHO, lets know why

A pandemic is a term used to describe a disease which fast spreads between several countries at once, around the same time.

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Corona Virus
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2 min. read

Coronavirus cases have breached the 4000 mortality rate globally, with more and more countries imposing tough quarantine measures. Celebrity couple Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson too became the first celebrity couple to get tested positive for Coronavirus infection in Australia.

In India too, the number of detected cases have gone up to 73, with fresher cases reported in Kerala. The outbreak has now forced the World Health Organisation to term this infection a complete ‘pandemic’.

The WHO chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “deeply concerned” by the rise in cases, said the number of cases outside of Wuhan, which was the epicentre of the disease spread rose thirteen folds in less than two weeks, with the most severely infected country being Italy and Iran, which have been officially quarantined.


Urging governments across the globe to act fast and attend to the problem at hand, WHO said that while the new terming doesn’t change the effect of the novel coronavirus, it did urge countries to respond fast to the crisis.

What is a pandemic?
A pandemic is a term used to describe a disease which fast spreads between several countries at once, around the same time. Earlier used to describe the Swine Flu crisis which affected the world in 2009, usage of the word pandemic is largely reserved for viral infections.

A pandemic is also used to designate an infection or a health crisis which is still under study (brand new), attacks or infects many people easily, spreads easily, all of the factors which can be used to describe the novel coronavirus strain. More so, with no cure in sight or treatment readily available, tackling the spread of this pandemic is extremely crucial.

Also read: Prevention: How long does coronavirus stay on surfaces?

How is it different from an epidemic?
Epidemic refers to a sudden spike in the number of cases, above what is usually expected or stipulated. While epidemics are usually restricted to one country or region, a pandemic affects several countries, in huge proportions in a given time.

A month before, referring to the COVID-19 crisis, WHO said that the novel coronavirus crisis had the potential to turn into a pandemic but it wasn’t entirely there since the spread was just contained to mainland China. But now, the infection has spread to as many as 114 countries.

Adding that the countries now need to step up their efforts to sanitize and cut out risk factors, WHO asked all countries to adopt the following measures on an urgent basis:

Activate and scale-up emergency response mechanisms
-Communicate with people about the risks and how they can protect themselves
-Find, isolate, test and treat every Covid-19 case and trace every contact

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