With all of Italy on lockdown and cases in America potentially set to soar, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the coronavirus a “pandemic.”
In a media briefing released, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO said that the organization is “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction” on the coronavirus.
The WHO said that it was not a decision the organization came to lightly.
One of the reasons the WHO had been slow to characterize the coronavirus as a pandemic is that it wanted to help stem fears about the illness.
The pandemic declaration doesn’t have anything to do with the severity of the disease, but rather how it has spread both geographically and within communities.
With the coronavirus, over 100 countries now have reported cases.
The WHO noted the declaration does not change how mitigation is approached, and nothing about the severity of the coronavirus has shifted.
Meanwhile, in the U.S, congressional staffers were told by Congress’ doctor that the outbreak could infect up to 100 million citizens. As Gizmodo notes, about 85% of people who get the coronavirus will have “more like a bad cold than a life-threatening pneumonia.”