The novel coronavirus is not the flu.
In Iraq, civil defence staff wearing protective clothing on Wednesday sprayed disinfectant in the public areas effort to combat the new coronavirus outbreak as the country has taken drastic measures to stem the spread, including ordering the closures of schools and universities. It turned out to be mild, leading to some criticism after pharmaceutical companies rushed development of vaccines and drugs.
Though the fatality rate of COVID-19 isn't as high as those of other historic pandemics, such as the Black Death, it still could turn out to be deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic, which may have killed more than of a quarter million people worldwide.
With police barring access to St. Peter's Square, emptying it of tens of thousands of people who usually come on Wednesdays for the weekly papal address, Pope Francis instead live-streamed prayers from the privacy of his Vatican library.
We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
The word "pandemic" is frightening and loosely defined.
Tedros said this is the first time a coronavirus has ever caused a pandemic.
A pandemic is a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time.
Germany, however, was quick to dismiss suggestions of border closures or travel bans, saying that they would deal with people coming into the country on a case-by-case basis.
Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has noted China and South Korea as countries with significant declines in COVID-19 cases.
"81 countries have not reported any COVID-19 cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less".
"This is the first coronavirus that has reached pandemic proportions, but it also the first one that can be contained", said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pictured above.
He said it was vital for all countries to activate and scale up emergency response mechanisms and to ensure every case of coronavirus is found and isolated while all contact is traced.
Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide on this virus. "But containment of COVID-19 is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries". The country is struggling with access to basic medical supplies.
Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.
Besides China, Italy and Iran are at the frontline now, with Italy recording a total of 12,462 cases and 827 deaths while Iran records a total of 9,000 cases and 354 deaths. During a pandemic, legal authorities like state and federal health experts may enforce policies and regulations that respond to public emergencies, such as assisting states in meeting health emergencies and maintaining stockpiles of necessary items. And individuals need to play a role as well, she said, including by washing their hands and keeping away from others if they might be sick.
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