What is a pandemic? A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity. Viruses that have caused past pandemics typically originated from animal influenza viruses. Some aspects of influenza pandemics can appear similar to seasonal influenza while other characteristics may be quite different. For example, both seasonal and pandemic influenza can cause infections in all age groups, and most cases will result in self-limited illness in which the person recovers fully without treatment. However, typical seasonal influenza causes most of its deaths among the elderly while other severe cases occur most commonly in people with a variety of medical conditions.
By contrast, this H1N1 pandemic caused most of its severe or fatal disease in younger people, both those with chronic conditions as well as healthy persons, and caused many more cases of viral pneumonia than is normally seen with seasonal influenza. For both seasonal and pandemic influenza, the total number of people who get severely ill can vary. However, the impact or severity tends to be higher in pandemics in part because of the much larger number of people in the population who lack pre-existing immunity to the new virus. When a large portion of the population is infected, even if the proportion of those infected that go on to develop the severe disease is small, the total number of severe cases can be quite large.
For both seasonal and pandemic influenza, the highest levels of activity would be expected to occur in the usual influenza season period for an area. (In the temperate climate zones, this is usually the winter months, for example). But as was seen with the current H1N1 pandemic, pandemics can have unusual epidemiological patterns and large outbreaks can occur in the summer months.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), officially named as COVID-19 pandemic by the WHO, has spread to more than 180 countries including China. More than 90% of the global COVID-19 cases are currently outside China.
Dealing with the unforeseen challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on people all across the world. According to official reports, the largest numbers of confirmed cases are in the United States, Italy, Spain, and France. However, even the countries that the new coronavirus has hit less aggressively are still under considerable strain. As many as 213 countries and territories have registered COVID-19 cases, and the entire world is buzzing with uncertainty and questions: How long will the pandemic last? What will people’s lives look like once the pandemic is over?
Many countries have declared restrictive measures, such as lockdown, shelter in place, or stay at home orders, to contain the pandemic at a local level. However, the wildly differing responses and response timelines have left people wondering if authorities failed to take the situation seriously early on when they could have done more to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. China appeared to manage the coronavirus outbreak effectively, putting in place early travel bans within the country itself. As early as January 23, Chinese authorities declared a nationwide travel ban, which, some experts suggest, may have averted over 700,000 COVID-19 cases within the country.
Some European countries have reacted sooner to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases than others. On March 10, Italy ordered a strict nationwide lockdown, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. The government banned all travel in the country, and people could only leave their homes for essential reasons — such as to buy food. When going out, people had to carry declaration forms and wear face masks and disposable gloves. Despite a slowdown in the growth of new COVID-19 cases, the Italian government has recently extended lockdown measures through May 3.
The U.S. strategy in dealing with the pandemic has been the target of an increased amount of criticism since different states have adopted wildly different measures. There is a lack of consensus between the authorities and various public health organizations.
As of March 30, 30 U.S. states — including New York, California, Texas, and Washington — have directed their citizens to shelter in place or stay at home, though some have opted for less restrictive measures. Since March 31, the Department of State has been advising all U.S. citizens “to avoid all international travel.” Although measures in the U.S. have been, overall, less stringent than elsewhere, groups of people in 18 states have been protesting against the lockdown. They claim that the measures have been harming them financially and otherwise. Even President Donald Trump has spoken in favor of easing the current measures, saying that the pandemic has already peaked in the U.S.
However, some medical professionals have spoken out against the protests, stressing that the protesters may well be putting other people’s lives and health in danger. In Canada, only two provinces — Ontario and Alberta — declared a state of emergency in the first half of March, following an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
As the Covid crisis has unfolded, infection rates have fluctuated and restrictions have proliferated. But it has always felt that there was one idea to cling to, that by working out which countries were doing well – and which was not – there was something to be learned.
The COVID-19 coronavirus has now spread to every continent except Antarctica, challenging health systems and governments everywhere. Although the vast majority of the almost 90,000 cases around the world are in China where the virus originated, 64 different countries are now affected. For most, the virus represents a mild health issue, but for vulnerable members of society the consequences can be more serious. Containment remains a priority for all countries but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling the spread of the disease.
The French government has advised that public gatherings of more than 5,000 people are also off limits, resulting in the cancellation of events like the Paris Half Marathon. Following the decision, the Louvre museum in Paris closed its doors to the public to mitigate the threat of infection posed by visitors arriving from different parts of the world.
As the Middle East’s worst-hit country, nearly 3,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Iran, including more than 20 lawmakers. The country’s parliament has been suspended indefinitely and MPs have been asked to cancel all public meetings. Iran’s death toll is the third-highest, after China and Italy, and medical supplies are running short. Exports of face masks are banned for three months, while Iran’s factories produce new supplies for local people.
California has declared a state of emergency after the first death in the state, which brought the U.S. death toll to 11. The move follows Washington and Florida both declaring a state of emergency, with 10 of the deaths in Washington state. The government is preventing entry to anyone who has visited China in the last 14 days and has expanded testing nationwide.
Italy has shut all its schools and universities for 10 days, as the government also banned public conferences and cultural events to curb the spread of the virus, which has already killed more than 100 people. Some towns in northern Italy’s Lombardy region are in lockdown. Restaurants and businesses are closed, threatening to plunge the country into recession.
No coronavirus cases have been detected in Saudi Arabia, but there have been some in regional neighbors like Kuwait and Bahrain. Authorities have barred entry to the kingdom for foreign pilgrims from 25 countries, preventing visits to Islam’s two holiest sites – Mecca and Medina.
In areas where the virus is circulating, masks should be worn when you’re in crowded settings, where you can’t be at least 1 metre from others, and in rooms with poor or unknown ventilation. It’s not always easy to determine the quality of ventilation, which depends on the rate of air change, recirculation and outdoor fresh air. So if you have any doubts, it’s safer to simply wear a mask.
You should always clean your hands before and after using a mask, and before touching it while wearing it. While wearing a mask, you should still keep physical distance from others as much as possible. Wearing a mask does not mean you can have close contact with people. For indoor public settings such as busy shopping centers, religious buildings, restaurants, schools and public transport, you should wear a mask if you cannot maintain physical distance from others. When outside, wear a mask if you cannot maintain physical distance from others, Some examples are busy markets, crowded streets and bus stops.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Masks
What Is The Global Impact Of The New Coronavirus Pandemic? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-global-impact-how-the-coronavirus-is-affecting-the-world
Coronavirus – this is how the world is responding