On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. When I think of this scary word it conjures up heartbreaking images of vast numbers of people suffering, precipitated into abysmal poverty. The WHO used to agree with me.
For years the WHO on its“Pandemic Preparedness”homepage defined a pandemic as “several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” In 2009, however, the part about “enormous numbers of death and illness” was removed. Since 2010, the WHO’s“Emergencies preparedness, response”page now has the following definition: “A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.”
In a May 4, 2009article,David Ozonoff, professor of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health told CNN: “The word pandemic refers to how widely dispersed a disease is, not to how severe the disease is…you can have a pandemic without a large number…
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