It’s official. The COVID-19 causing coronavirus (SARS-nCoV2) outbreak is no longer just an outbreak. It is officially a pandemic.
What does It mean? – Coronavirus is pandemic!
During a briefing today in Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the outbreak to be “the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.” Here is Sky News coverage of the announcement:
This is probably not too surprising since the “P” word has already been floating around for a while. And in this case, “P” does not stand for Purell.
So, does this declaration mean that everything changes now? Are things massively different today compared to yesterday? Is it time to pull out the Peter Venkman-line from the movie Ghostbusters, about “dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria”?
Not necessarily, no, and heck no.
Symptoms of coronavirus include
People may experience:
Difficulty breathing (severe cases)
Yes, names can really affect how people view something and act. For example, someone describing your hairstyle as Brussels sprout-like as opposed to just a bit poofy could dramatically alter the urgency with which you deal with your hair. Similarly, calling the SARS-CoV2 situation officially a pandemic could significantly raise some people’s concerns and alarm.
Nevertheless, keep in mind what designating something as a “pandemic” actually means. This designation doesn’t refer to the severity or deadliness of the disease. A disease that’s become a pandemic isn’t necessarily more or less of a killer than a disease that hasn’t. The case fatality rate for COVID-19 is still likely significantly higher than that of the season flu but not as high as that of SARS. There hasn’t been a dramatic change in the characteristics of the virus itself or the disease that it can cause.
Investors are preparing for another wild day on Wall Street after the Dow Jones plunged by 2,000 points Thursday morning following President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to allay economic fears over the coronavirus provided little assurance.
Trump announced Wednesday night that he would ban many foreign travellers from most of Europe over the next 30 days amid the growing outbreak, which has sickened more than 1,000 people and killed at least 33 in the United States.
Shortly after that, the NBA stunned fans by announcing that it would suspend the season beginning Thursday after at least one player for the Utah Jazz tested positive. Meanwhile, actor Tom Hanks posted on Instagram that he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, had tested positive.