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Coronavirus: Close to Pandemic

World Health

Organisation: Coronavirus Epidemic Is Close to a Pandemic

Confirmed cases outside China tripled over the past week and the north of Italy under lockdown

World Health Organisation announced COVID-19 as an epidemic and the latest updates point out that it is about to turn into a global pandemic.

Outbreak or Epidemic?

An outbreak is a noticeable, often small, increase over the expected number of cases. When a new disease emerges, outbreaks are more noticeable since the anticipated number of illnesses caused by that disease was zero.


What Was Epidemic

An outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time is explained as Epidemic. (Merriam-Webster)

The total mortality of an epidemic can be high even if the symptoms for the vast majority are mild. While it might not seem intuitive, it can be the case that two things are true at the same time:

  • for the majority of people, the symptoms are mild and in some cases similar to the common flu.
  • And an epidemic of the same disease can cause a very high number of deaths.

As we saw above the symptoms of COVID-19 can be very severe for a number of cases. Many of these patients require treatment in intensive care units (ICUs). The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that “about a quarter of severe and critical cases require mechanical ventilation.”


What Is the Difference of Pandemic?

Pandemic: an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population (Merriam-Webster)

In the most classical sense, once an epidemic spreads to multiple countries or regions of the world, it is considered a pandemic. However, some epidemiologists classify a situation as a pandemic only once the disease is sustained in some of the newly affected regions through the local transmission.


“It’s in Our Hands”

WHO officials said some countries have been able to slow down, and even stop, transmission — pointing to Singapore. Whether a country controls an outbreak depends on how quickly and how much world leaders do to contain the spread in their individual countries.

“It is in our hands. … In many countries, it will get worse before it gets better,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead of WHO’s emergency program. Roughly 93% of the global cases are concentrated in four countries: China, Korea, Italy, and Iran, they said. Roughly 80 countries have less than 100 cases each. “Absolutely, we see a light at the end of the tunnel, but how quickly we get there depends on what countries do.”

Latest Data on COVID-19

Global outbreak of COVID-19 effected 159,468 as of March 15, 2020


As of March 15, the number of cases was 159,468, while the death toll was 5839.


The outbreak spread to 12 new countries/territories/areas within the past 24 hours which makes it spreading globally to 154 countries. 75,954 cases are recovered.

How It Begun?

December 30th, 2019

China’s National Health Commission has reported cases of pneumonia, whose cause is unknown. According to the Ministery of Health, General Directorate of Borders and Seashores dated January 5, 2020; as of January 3rd, 44 pneumonia patients were reported by national authorities in China. According to the report; of the patients, 11 were in severe condition and the rest were in stable condition. The BBC reported on 3 January 2020 that the unnamed COVID-19 disease at the time was “mysterious viral pneumonia.” The report was concerned that the effects of this mysterious virus would resemble the SARS virus, which killed more than 700 people in 2003.

Wuhan police said eight people were punished for “publishing false information on the internet without verification.” It was later discovered that one of them was Dr.Li Wenliang, one of the first doctors to discover the outbreak. On December 30, 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang alerted about mysterious viral pneumonia to a social media group that he had to contact with his colleagues. On January 10, he started coughing, fired the next day, and two days later his illness increased. Until January 30, the coronavirus was negative every time they tested. When the test was positive, the incentive was put in 20 days after the initial symptoms. Dr. Wenliang died on February 7 at the age of 34. The authorities apologized to him, after his death.

The first death linked to the novel Coronavirus occurred on January 11, 2020. The official name of the outbreak was COVID-19 on January 12, 2020. The novel coronavirus was isolated and the genome sequence was shared with the WHO. By the end of January, cases were also reported in Japan and Korea, except for China.

The WHO’s COVID-19 report on February 1st described the number of cases in China as 11821. There were only 132 cases outside China at this time and spread to 23 countries in total. In 11821 cases in China, 259 people were reported as dead. The COVID-19 mortality rate was calculated at 2.1%. This was 9.6% at SARS, compared to 34.3% at MERS.

A month later, on March 1, 2020, the situation report said the disease affected 87,137 people worldwide, and the death toll was 2,977. COVID-19, which spans a total of 58 countries, raised alarms all over the world. The mortality rate increased to 3.4%.

Here is an infographic about the latest situation of COVID-19:


For Further Information About COVID-19

WHO published guidance on ‘Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected’ on 13 March. The document provides clinicians with updated interim guidance on timely, effective, and safe supportive management of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19.

A video about all questions raised on COVID-19 turning into Pandemic:



Here is an article about how Stock Markets effected by COVID-19:


OPEN LETTER: GP registrar concerned over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and Ireland’s early response to it:


Latest data can be checked by this link too:


The latest news on Ireland on March 10:


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