Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday declared the novel coronavirus pandemic as it sweeps across 114 countries of the world infecting as many as 1,18,000 and killing 4,291 people.
What is a pandemic?
Disease experts use the word pandemic when a disease becomes widespread in several countries and continents simultaneously. The term pandemic is made up of two Greek words – 'pan' meaning 'all' and 'demos' meaning 'people'.
The WHO describes pandemic as a “worldwide spread of a disease.”
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention says, “Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”
What is an 'outbreak' and 'epidemic'?
According to the WHO, an outbreak is when cases of a disease rise more than what is normally expected, while an epidemic is more than a normal number of cases of an illness, specific health-related behaviour or other health-related events in a community or region.
Until now the WHO did not use the term pandemic for the disease fearing that it would create undue panic among the people.
In January, the organisation declared COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency.
The last time the WHO declared a pandemic was during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 which killed hundreds of thousands people across the globe.