Babydabs
by on March 20, 2020
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On March 4th ,The World Health Organization , declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging what has seemed clear for some time — the virus will likely spread to all countries on the globe.

    In the United States, where for weeks state and local laboratories could not test for the virus, just over 1,000 cases have been diagnosed and 29 people have died. But authorities here warn continuing limits on testing mean the full scale of spread in this country is not yet known.

The virus causes mild respiratory infections in about 80% of those infected, though about half will have pneumonia. Another 15% develop severe illness, and 5% need critical care.

WHO officials had said earlier they were hesitant to call the outbreak a pandemic in case it led governments and individuals to give up the fight. On Wednesday, they stressed that fundamental public health interventions can still limit the spread of the virus and drive down cases even where it was transmitting widely, as the work of authorities and communities in China, Singapore, and South Korea has shown.

The virus, which probably originated in bats but passed to people via an as yet unrecognized intermediary animal species, is believed to have started infecting people in Wuhan, China, in late November or early December. Since then the virus has raced around the globe.

To understand the unprecedented challenges posed by SARS–CoV-2, which causes the newly described “coronavirus disease 2019” COVID-19, it is insufficient to rely exclusively on confirmed cases and their geospatial spread. It is valuable, but also insufficient, to report statistics on mild 80.9%, severe 13.8%, and critical 4.4% cases 1. Instead, we must understand and quantify the dominant variables that govern the current outbreak.

In some ways, declaring a pandemic is more art than science. “Pandemics mean different things to different people,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in February. “It really is borderline semantics, to be honest with you.”

“Pandemic 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,” said Dr. Tedros on March 11. “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.”

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to have first jumped from an animal host to humans in Wuhan, China. At least at first, most cases were seen within China and among people who had traveled there, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. While these cases were concerning, they did not suggest a pandemic, because there was not significant spread outside of China.

“Pandemic 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,” said Dr. Tedros on March 11. “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.”

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to have first jumped from an animal host to humans in Wuhan, China. At least at first, most cases were seen within China and among people who had traveled there, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. While these cases were concerning, they did not suggest a pandemic, because there was not significant spread outside of China.

“Pandemic 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,” said Dr. Tedros on March 11. “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.”

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to have first jumped from an animal host to humans in Wuhan, China. At least at first, most cases were seen within China and among people who had traveled there, as well as those travelers’ close contacts. While these cases were concerning, they did not suggest a pandemic, because there was not significant spread outside of China.