WHO: Coronavirus Outbreak Now Officially a Pandemic
"We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear."
It’s official: The World Health Organization (WHO) just declared that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic.
“We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference, according to CNBC. “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”
As of Wednesday, COVID-19 has caused 4,585 deaths and infected 124,775 people around the world. Initially, most of those cases and fatalities occurred within China, and China has still had more reported cases and deaths than every other country combined.
But CNBC reports that the outbreak seems to have slowed there while picking up speed in other countries like Italy, Iran, and increasingly within the U.S. as well.
“We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said. “Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.”
But in the meantime, the WHO expects things to get worse before the outbreak is brought under control, especially given how hard it is for some areas to test for and confirm cases.
“In the past two weeks the number of cases outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled,” Ghebreyesus said. “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”
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