It seemed like it was a matter of time based on all the event cancellations and travel bans, but now it’s official: the World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic.
Speaking of the coronavirus pandemic, the GOAT team talk about all the events that have been cancelled due to the disease on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:
Following the World Health Organisation’s declaration of the coronavirus as an international health emergency in January, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced at a press conference in Geneva that the disease is officially a pandemic.
Citing the “alarming inaction” by some countries in responding to the growing number of coronavirus cases, which have now up to 126,011 worldwide at the time of writing, Tedros says “pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly” and that the new classification “doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”
Tedros also noted that of all the confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, “more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries” and two of those – China and South Korea – “have significantly declining epidemics,” and stated that “if countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of coronavirus cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.”
This is a big deal as this is the first pandemic to be declared in 11 years. Since everyone is probably now wondering “what is a pandemic”, what does that mean in the context of the coronavirus”, “what do I need to do now” and “do I need to hoard more toilet paper”, we’re going to give a definition on what the word means and break it down for you.
A pandemic has nothing to do with the characteristics of a disease but rather its geographical spread. For a disease like the coronavirus to be declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, it means that a disease for which we don’t have immunity has rapidly broken out around the world beyond expectations.
Given how well over 100 nations (and counting) have confirmed coronavirus cases, it certainly fits the WHO’s definition of a pandemic.
Okay, so that’s the definition of a pandemic but how does it differ to an epidemic?
While a pandemic refers to the rapid spread of a disease worldwide, an epidemic refers to the spread of a disease within a specific, defined region. In other words, the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is a matter of geographical scope.
As for what the coronavirus being declared a pandemic means for you personally, well, keep up all the precautions the Australian health authorities have laid out for us, such as regularly – and thoroughly – washing your hands and use hand sanitiser whenever possible, and pay no attention to all those fake coronavirus “cures” that have been going around. There’s no need to panic and you’ll be fine if you stay alert.
We’ve survived other pandemics in the past and we’ll do it again with the coronavirus. Oh and as for the toilet paper question above, please stop hoarding food and TP because it’s just not necessary at the moment and you’re causing people who actually need this stuff a lot of grief.
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