The coronavirus outbreak that spurted in one wet market of Wuhan in December 2019 has today affected 100 countries. The aggressive spread and the increasing death rates made the World Health Organization declare coronavirus a global emergency long time back. However, it is now that the WHO has declared the situation to be a pandemic.

So what is a pandemic?  

Pandemic is, as defined by WHO, a situation when a new disease spreads across the globe, in an unexpected magnitude. The disease itself being a new occurrence, people usually do not have a developed immunity for the same.

For WHO to define a situation as a pandemic there are no defined rules. However, there are a few parameters that are observed for the declaration of a situation as a pandemic.

  • A person carrying the disease and spreading it or a person infected by another in travels and hence the spread occurs in an area do not qualify as a pandemic
  • For a pandemic to take root the second season of infection must occur where the human to human transmission occurs
  • The spread of the disease is amongst the community will eventually occur, spreading it.
  • A pandemic always turns big and it is, therefore, best for the government and the health officials to be prepared

Now here is the doubt that most have? Why did the WHO not declare COVID-19 outbreak earlier? It has a lot to do with the perception that people have about the world Pandemic. Though nothing changes about the situation, the gravity of the situation as perceived undergoes an unwarranted change.

Sample this: WHO had declared the H1N1 situation to be a pandemic in 2008. The world went into a panic mode and the organization was criticized for its “irresponsible “behavior.