WHO Declares Coronavirus Is Now a Global Pandemic


WHO changed its assessment of the coronavirus, upgrading from a level three alert to a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, describes the virus as an unprecedented outbreak. He fervently declares:

Everyone must act together now to limit the further spread of the coronavirus.

The WHO website reports a pandemic occurs when a new virus emerges and spreads around the world, of which most people do not have immunity.

One hundred twenty-one countries and territories are reporting infections as the pathogen spread outside of China. As of Worldometer’s last update, March 11, 18:12 GMT, 53,333 individuals are currently diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 11 percent of those are in severe or critical condition.

The worldwide COVID-19 death toll is 4,585, which is six percent of the total diagnosed.

Coronavirus Cases In the United States

The U.S. CDC reports a total of 938 confirmed and presumptive positive coronavirus cases since January 21. An additional 771 cases are under investigation. Thus far, 29 people succumbed to the virus. These numbers do not include testing results for persons repatriated to the U.S. from Japan (46 cases) and Wuhan, China (3 cases).

Those infected reside in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Washington state, New York, and California have the greatest number of coronavirus infections; 267, 173, and 152, respectively. The CDC determined these states’ cases were spread through community transmission.

Self-Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The World Health Organization advises the public to “be smart and stay informed.” First and foremost is to “follow accurate public health advice from national and local health authorities.” They are also asking people not to spread rumors from unreliable sources.

¹Sites with reliable information updated daily include WHO, CDC, and local public health organizations. Worldometer.info compiles data from the previous list and provides links for their sources. To find answers about COVID-19, referrals to local health departments, and testing information in the United States, dial 211 and speak to a counselor at the 211 Info|Helpline Center.

Brief Overview of the Coronavirus

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness spread through the droplets expelled when a person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 is the newest of the coronaviruses, but it is the only one that has become a pandemic.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. From the point of contact until symptoms begin, the estimated incubation period is 2-14 days. However, five cases were diagnosed 19 days out, and one case 24.

What to do if Symptoms Arise?

The CDC recommends calling a physician should a person think they are infected and if they:

  1. Have been in close contact with a person known to have the coronavirus,
  2. Or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the pathogen.

Unless a person’s condition requires immediate attention, the WHO requests they do not go into a medical facility and call first so the staff can make arrangements.

Keep Healthy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Stay healthy by eating wisely, staying hydrated, exercising, sleeping 7-9 hours at night, and keeping a clean environment. Please wash hands following the advisories; use soap and hot water for at least twenty seconds or the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. If no water is available, use hand sanitizer.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019
WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Worldometer: COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak
NBC News: Coronavirus updates live: WHO declares COVID-19 disease to be a pandemic
¹ Links: CDC, https://www.cdc.gov; WHO, https://ww.who.int; and Worldometer https://www.worldometers.info.

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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