Coronavirus Now Officially Declared a Pandemic
The World Health Organisation just declared COVID-19 a pandemic. What to do now?
Posted Mar 12, 2020
The coronavirus, officially knows as COVID-19, has now reached at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people with 118,000 reported cases. This has led the (WHO) to officially declare the coronavirus a "pandemic".
This is a striking development. The last time the World Health Organization declared a pandemic was back in 2009, when the "swine flu" was the target of all major news articles.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO wrote on Twitter:
"@WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the #coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic."
"[p]andemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death
Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this #coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do."
For many countries the current situation is overwhelming. Indeed, few if any countries have been prepared for a pandemic outbreak of this dimension. International cooperation should be priority number 1.
As it likely that people will become panicked we should be careful not to spread misinformation, nor ignore the crisis.
The problem is important not just because of the disease itself, but its rapid spread, which makes it impossible to provide adequate care for patients where medical resources are spread thin. This is why it is important to slow the spread of the disease.
Look here for a previous Psychology Today article on the best thing to do to avoid infection.
António Guterres, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, has responded with a call for unification and cooperation among nations and people:
"Today’s declaration of a #COVID19 pandemic is a call to action – for everyone, everywhere. It’s also a call for responsibility & solidarity – as nations united and as people united. As we fight the virus, we cannot let fear go viral. Let’s overcome this common threat together."
*Edit: due to the rapid spread it is not highly recommended to also practice social distancing to protect not only yourself, but also others.