Explained: Coronavirus in 47 countries, but is it a pandemic yet?

News:The United States Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has said the world is on the cusp of a coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic.


  • Recently, WHO has declared COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

About Pandemic:

  • Pandemic comes from the Greek word pandemos which means everybody.
  • A pandemic is defined as an epidemic occurring worldwide or over a very wide area crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.
  • However,there is no specific number of countries that a disease must touch for WHO to classify it as a pandemic.

Difference between Pandemic and Epidemic:

  • Epidemic refers to an event in which a disease is actively spreading. Usually,this is an outbreak that has grown out of control but is often within one country or location. 
  • On the other hand, pandemic is an epidemic on a far greater geographic scale that affects a much larger number of people.

Previous cases of Pandemic:

  • In 2009, the WHO had declared a global pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1), commonly known as swine flu.