How does the WHO decide if something should be classified as a pandemic?
There is no quota of deaths, infections or number of countries affected that has to be met, with the declaration of pandemic at the discretion of the WHO.
Coronavirus has been labelled a pandemic after recording a significant and ongoing increase in person-to-person spreads of the disease across multiple countries.
What’s the difference between a pandemic and epidemic?
While a pandemic relates to the worldwide spread of a new disease, an epidemic refers to a more localised or regional outbreak where there is a sudden increased number of cases of a disease that is above what is normally expected in that population in that area.
What other diseases have been labelled as pandemics?
Cholera pandemic (1910 – 1911): Like its five previous incarnations, the Sixth Cholera Pandemic originated in India and killed over 800,000, before it spread to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia.
Flu pandemic (1918): Taking the lives of 20 to 50 million people, a deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe between 1918 and 1920.
Asian flu (1956 – 1958): Originating in China in 1956 and lasting until 1958, the Asian Flu travelled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. Estimates suggest there were around two million deaths.
Flu pandemic (1968): The 1968 flu pandemic was caused by the H3N2 strain of the Influenza A virus and resulted in the deaths of more than a million people. It took just three months to spread from Hong Kong to the rest of the world.
HIV/AIDS (1981): While first identified in 1976, the disease peaked during the 1990s and 2000s. It has been responsible for killing more than 36 million people worldwide.
Swine flu (2009): The WHO last used the “pandemic” label during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak. Swine flu recorded 575,400 deaths worldwide.
What happens now coronavirus is a pandemic?
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyes expressed alarm about mounting infection rates and slow government responses, but said it’s not too late for countries to respond.
“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilise their people in the response,” he said.
“We are deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.”
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