We have all likely heard the word pandemic used in some conversation. In most cases, we associate pandemics with terrifying diseases. With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus and the prior outbreak of Ebola, we need to know more about this. Once we can understand a problem fully, then we will be able to find a solution. In the cases where there is no known solution, then we can aim to avoid it. So we need to ask ourselves what an epidemic is, and what it takes for a disease to be a pandemic.
To understand what a pandemic is, we must first address the issue of an outbreak. When we hear pandemic, it is associated with an outbreak. An outbreak simply refers to the spread of disease, making the reported cases many. In the spread of diseases, there is an expected number of cases, and once it exceeds this, it is an outbreak.
A pandemic is a term used to describe a disease that spreads across the world. The term pandemic is a derivative of two words of Greek origin, ‘pan’ and ’demos’. The words when translated together loosely form all the people. So the term pandemic refers to a disease that is affecting everyone. The modern translation refers to a disease affecting all countries. So when a disease crosses the boundaries of countries and is spreading, we can call it a pandemic.
Is coronavirus outbreak a pandemic?
According to the experts, No, coronavirus cannot be referred to as a pandemic. The disease is still described as an epidemic rather than a pandemic. Even though the coronavirus has been identified in numerous countries. The experts have given the disease a ‘very high’ threat rating, imploring people to be careful. The diseases have been recorded on multiple continents, but it does not yet rank as a Pandemic. Many people are scared as the disease seems to be very deadly, and it spreads rapidly.
There have been significant efforts to stop the spread of the disease in all the countries it is identified. Despite the best efforts of health care professionals, the disease seems to be spreading. With confirmation in almost 50 countries, the worry seems to be growing, and fast. Health care experts care constantly reminding people to be careful. There are instructions on how to avoid contacting the coronavirus. The instructions are working but must ask, why they don’t consider the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic?
Why the coronavirus outbreak is not considered a pandemic
There have been several pandemics across the course of human history. The last recorded pandemic in the world was over ten years ago, and it was the H1N1 virus. The virus is more commonly referred to as swine flu and it was very deadly. Now, with the spread of coronavirus, the healthcare professionals have refused to accept it as a pandemic. So why do they feel that the outbreak is not a pandemic? Here are some characteristics of previous pandemics:
- The death toll: While coronavirus is deadly and has resulted in numerous deaths, its death count is low. The previously recorded pandemics have all had death counts that were in the hundreds of thousands. This figure makes coronavirus seem like the common cold when compared to pandemics. In some cases, the pandemic was very terrible and the death count was a lot higher. Around the 14th century, the plague referred to as the Black Death swept across the world. The death toll from this pandemic is rumored to be just under 200 million. This is a significant fraction of the current world population. The experts don’t think the coronavirus is capable of causing such damage.
- Modern medicine and scientific advances: The world is constantly evolving and technological advances happen every day. This has led to the development of new multipurpose drugs. The belief is that in due time, there will be a cure to coronavirus. Scientific advancements have also helped improve the way things are done. Now, there are proper tools and information that can stop the spread of coronavirus. There is modern equipment that will help scientists understand the virus. Once this is done, they can hope to reverse engineer a cure. This is another reason why the outbreak is not considered a pandemic.
While the coronavirus outbreak is concerning, professionals believe they have enough information to end it. Pandemics usually occur because the spreading mechanism is unknown, or impossible to stop. With coronavirus, both situations are not the issue.