Coronavirus declared as a pandemic: What is the difference between epidemic and pandemic?

World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus aka COVID-19 as a pandemic. What is the difference between epidemic and pandemic? Read on to find out.
Coronavirus declared as a pandemic: What is the difference between epidemic and pandemic?Coronavirus declared as a pandemic: What is the difference between epidemic and pandemic?
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If you have been living under a rock then you may not be aware of the deadly outbreak of Coronavirus aka COVID-19 which is now officially declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The disease which started off in Wuhan, China, is spreading rapidly not only in China but across many nations. Around 120 countries already have registered cases of COVID-19. Due to the rise of the outbreak, WHO declared coronavirus as Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020.

Why did WHO take so long to describe the outbreak as pandemic? To this, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said that they were assessing the outbreak around the clock and were very concerned by both the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. They had to assess everything before calling it as a pandemic and added how the word can create panic. 

Read on to find what is the difference between epidemic and pandemic:

What is an epidemic?

The term epidemic is used when there is a sudden increase in the number of reports of any particular disease or infections more than expected for the population in a particular area. WHO states, "The occurrence in a community or region of cases of an illness, specific health-related behaviour, or other health-related events clearly in excess of normal expectancy. The community or region and the period in which the cases occur are specified precisely. The number of cases indicating the presence of an epidemic varies according to the agent, size, and type of population exposed, previous experience or lack of exposure to the disease, and time and place of occurrence."

What is a pandemic?

Health organisations prefer the term pandemic when the epidemic spreads over several countries or continents, thus affecting a large number of people.  As per WHO, a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease, which means a simultaneous sustained spread of a disease across international borders. For the unversed, before COVID-19, the last pandemic had occurred in the year 2009. It was due to the H1N1 virus. The virus had claimed around the lives of 4 lakh people around the world. 

What is outbreak and what are the other terms?

The World Health Organization says, "A disease outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of normal expectancy. The number of cases varies according to the disease-causing agent, and the size and type of previous and existing exposure to the agent." 

There are other words such as sporadic and endemic which are also used when there is an outbreak of some diseases. The term sporadic is used when the disease happens irregularly, while the term endemic is preferred when there is a constant presence of a disease within a geographic area.

How to prevent coronavirus?

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick or have been sick. 

2. Make sure you don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth.

3. Cover your mouth, especially while coughing.

4. Stay home when you are sick.

5. Clean objects which are used often.

6. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Common symptoms of coronavirus:

1. Fever.

2. Headache.

3. Cough.

4. Runny nose.

5. Sore throat.

6. Difficulty in breathing.

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Comments

To simply avoid the entrance of noble covid-19 virus,please wear anti-virus masks such as n95 while going out.It would prevent the virus to enter through the air while you are breathing.

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