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WHO Upgrades COVID-19 Crisis to Pandemic

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First Pandemic Triggered by a Coronavirus

By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Jessie Crowdy

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic is now officially a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a March 11 media briefing, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said,

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly…. I have said from the beginning that countries must take a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimize impact…. The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same — it’s whether they will.”

An epidemic refers to an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected among that population in that area. A pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.

Health authorities agree that the COVID-crisis will worsen globally, noting that this is the first time that a coronavirus outbreak has developed into a pandemic. Dr. Tedros concluded his statement by saying: “We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable.”

For news and education on COVID-19, WiRED International’s website offers a whole section on the virus with access to the following:

    • WiRED’s Coronavirus Module in four languages
    • WiRED’s Coronavirus Webstories
    • WiRED’s Coronavirus Glossary
    • Daily updates
    • Useful information from leading health authorities such as WHO
WiRED’s Coronavirus Training Module Designed for Groups

WiRED’s Coronavirus education module is designed for group presentations. It serves as a teaching tool in schools, community organizations, churches and other group settings. This accurate, evidence-based module takes about one hour to go through and aids group leaders in offering a training session that informs members about the coronavirus signs and symptoms, treatments and prevention. It is available for use online and for downloading to laptops, tablets and smartphones that can be used with a TV or projector.