The World Health Organization on Wednesday announced that COVID-19, the disease resulting from the novel coronavirus that spread across the globe, can be considered a pandemic.
The organization has in the past resisted applying the label to the disease, saying it was still possible for it to be contained in the various areas to which it had spread.
“We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuse said at a press conference Wednesday.
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
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On Monday, Tedros said that the threat of the novel coronavirus’ spread becoming a pandemic was “very real.”
“But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled,” he added. “The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus.”
Anthony Fauci, the U.S. director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday last week that the disease had “now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions.”
“If you look at, by multiple definitions of what a pandemic is, the fact is this is multiple sustained transmissions of a highly infectious agent in multiple regions of the globe,” Fauci said.