At the moment, coronavirus has contaminated more than 80,000 people all over the world, raising concern about an ongoing pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the spread of the infection may become, indeed, pandemic.
The Virus Continues to Spread
The novel coronavirus disease, officially known as COVID-19, has gotten a new handful of energy now with the outbreaks in Italy, South Korea, and Iran. Since December of 2019, the pathogen has contaminated at least 80,248 people and claimed the lives of more than 2,700.
In South Korea, almost 1,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 after a recent rise in contaminations linked to a secret religious cult. Reportedly, 12 people have also died from the novel pathogen in Iran, but allegations have been made, saying that the Iran’s government is actually covering up the level of the outbreak.
Over 200 people have also been infected with the coronavirus in northern Italy. The officials restricted about 50,000 people in the area to travel but instead to stay inside.
Many people now fear that these spikes mean the coronavirus is about to spread globally.
Will COVID-19 Turn Into a Pandemic?
Even though it is still early to say that COVID-19 is a pandemic, the WHO stated that the illness could actually become one.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Does the virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet.”
The WHO will not announce a pandemic warning until the region spread of the pathogen, the security of the disease it triggers and the effect it has in the society is grave enough.
Dr. Ghebreyesus said: “Using the word pandemic now does not fit the facts, but it may certainly cause fear.”
Some specialists, though, have stated that the pathogen has already attained pandemic scales of danger.
Dr. Bharat Pankhania, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “We now consider this to be a pandemic in all but name and it’s only a matter of time before the World Health Organization starts to use the term in its communications.”
Even though about 30 countries have reported coronavirus infections until now, more than 77,000 contaminated people are still from China. The new virus strain has first appeared in Wuhan, Hubei Province, where over 2,500 of the 2,704 deaths have been registered.
Nonetheless, the WHO has warned countries to be ‘in a phase of preparedness.’
What is a Pandemic?
A pandemic takes place when a disease spreads at a rapid pace across a large geographical region, contaminating numerous people. Epidemics are bound to a city, region, or country, which is China, in this case.
An epidemic can become a pandemic if it expands to near countries at a rapid pace. Until now, the COVID-19 has not spread too far from Asia and has only gotten to Europe and the United States by travelers.
Dr. Ghebreyesus said: “For the moment we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death.”
However, Dr. Pankhania from the University of Exter said that numerous experts are already referring to coronavirus as a pandemic.
He said: “This gives us focus and tells us that the virus is now appearing in other countries and transmitting far afield from China. However, it doesn’t change our approach to monitoring the outbreak. In the UK, there’s no need to move towards mitigation strategies, as so far, our containment policies are working. We only have 13 cases, and they are contained and controlled.”