Coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic. Now what?

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, specifying that framing the situation as a pandemic doesn’t change their assessment of the virus or impact their overall response plan.

“We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said WHO director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who added there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives to the disease. But as countries all over the world shift into a pandemic response plan, one question remains: now what?

A pandemic is declared when an infectious or prevalent disease spreads globally. This differs from an epidemic, in which the widespread outbreak is unique to a single country or community at a particular time.

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