WHO Waits to Call COVID-19 Pandemic: NewScientist

The world prepares for a COVID-19 pandemic, described as inevitable by many health officials. A pandemic requires worldwide spread and deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease control. With confirmed cases reported in 47 nations, the World Health Organization has held off on declaring a pandemic. “Countries have pandemic plans that are launched when one is declared, but these plans may not be appropriate for combating covid-19 – and the WHO doesn’t want countries to lurch in the wrong direction,” reports Debora MacKenzie for NewScientist. “Epidemic experts say there are no global criteria.” Many plans are built around the flu and could limit responses. Bruce Aylward of the WHO suggests that China’s “agile approach” on containment and guidance on behavior changes slowed transmission: washing hands frequently, canceling large gatherings, maintaining distance with other people, staying at home when showing symptoms. Risk communication experts recommend regular updates, reminders about best practices and detailed explanations about the government response. – YaleGlobal

WHO Waits to Call COVID-19 Pandemic: NewScientist

WHO holds off on calling COVID-19 pandemic to avoid triggering national pandemic plans that may not be suited for this disease – as well as panic
Debora MacKenzie
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Read the article from NewScientist about why the World Health Organization waits to declare a pandemic.

- Clean hands often, using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;  - When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;  - Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;  - Those with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical care early and share travel history with health providers;  - In areas experiencing cases, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals, and clean hands frequently;  - Avoid consumption of undercooked cooked animal products, and handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care  to avoid cross-contamination.

(Source: Yale Health Plan, WHO and US Centers for Disease Control)

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