Coronavirus Outbreak Not A Pandemic, WHO Says

While the 2019-nCoV outbreak has been internationally declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency maintained on Tuesday that the situation has not reached a “pandemic” level. 

At a press conference, Dr. Sylvie Briand

, director of the WHO's Infectious Hazards Management Department, explained that the situation is still at a point where it is considered an epidemic at several contained locations. 

"We are not in a pandemic. We will try to extinguish the transmission in each of these (locations)," Briand said. She noted the agency has enforced sufficient containment measures already to prevent transmissions, however, she admitted the task was challenging due to global travelers. 

Researchers, doctors and the media throw around the terms epidemic and pandemic without highlighting the difference. An epidemic is an unusual and sudden increase in the number of people suffering from a disease within a local population. 

On the contrary, a pandemic is an uncontainable spread of a disease in several countries and continents. According to the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive, the circulating disease for which our bodies lack immunity, possibly from different strains, causes a pandemic. 

By not calling the outbreak a pandemic, the WHO has supported the stance taken by the Chinese government. As per the National Health Commission of China, most people are able to fully recover, except for people over the age of 60. Also, 75 percent of the people who died in China were not in the pink of health since they already had preexisting conditions like diabetes and heart problems.  

Despite this assurance given, authorities in other countries remain skeptical about the numbers divulged to the public. Estimates compiled at the University of Hong Kong reveal that the actual number of people infected with the virus could surpass the figures on record.

Former CDC director Thomas Frieden is not so optimistic that the coronavirus can be contained. "It is therefore likely that it will spread, as flu and other organisms do, but we still don't know how far, wide, or deadly it will be," Frieden said.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that the situation is evolving every day and we could be heading towards a pandemic. 

Coronavirus The WHO says the coronavirus outbreak has not reached pandemic levels. Centers for Disease Control an