The World Health Organization (WHO) today declared COVID-19 a pandemic, pushing the threat beyond the global health emergency it had announced in January.

In the WHO’s daily briefing, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said that the label should galvanize the world to fight. However, “describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by the virus, it doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do,” he said.

The novel coronavirus, the first known to cause a pandemic, has infected more than 118,000 people and killed more than 4,000 in 114 countries, numbers expected only to rise. The WHO is “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and the alarming levels of inactivity,” Ghebreyesus said. “In the past 2 weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of countries has tripled.”

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

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