It has been just over two months since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and now the World Health Organization has officially declared the virus a global pandemic. So what does that mean? Apparently not much. The status of a virus being declared a “pandemic” is little more than an official designation of the severity of the issue. According to The Daily Beast, “a pandemic indicates the sharp, simultaneous spread of a disease in multiple areas, regions, or countries.” At the very least this means maybe the President of the United States will stop pretending the coronavirus is a liberal media smear tool… but uh, maybe don’t hold your breath on that one.
As of Wednesday, March 11th, coronavirus has been detected in 114 countries and killed over 4,000 people. NPR reports that the infection numbers have exceeded 1,000 cases in eight countries, including the US, and over 120,000 worldwide have been infected. According to The Guardian, once an infection is declared a pandemic, travel bans serve little use, instead extra resources and energy should be applied to our medical institutions to help curb the strain. The director of infectious diseases and immunology at the Menzies Health Institute in Queensland, Professor Nigel McMillan, told The Guardian “This includes preparing our hospitals for a large influx of patients, stockpiling any antivirals, and advising the public that when the times comes, they will need to think about things like staying at home if ill, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, etc.”
In short: Don’t panic. But absolutely do expect to deal with the fact that our lives are about to change in a very real way.