1. A major example is the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, which killed between 20-50 million.
2. Cholera pandemics have been declared multiple times between 1817 and 1975.
3. In 1968, an pandemic was declared for H3N2 that caused about a million deaths. The last pandemic declared by the WHO was in 2009, for H1N1.
4. As far as COVID-19 is concerned, China announced the outbreak on December 31 and declared a public health emergency on January 30.
5. The WHO waited for 72 days before declaring it a pandemic. The outbreak was so far mostly limited to China, which has taken stringent countermeasures.
6. In the last two weeks, cases outside China increased thirteen-fold and countries infected have tripled.
7. Italy, for instance, had 888 cases on February 29 which rose to 4,636 in a week.
8. However, describing the situation as pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the death risk posed by the virus, it does not change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries do.
9. There is a view among many experts, however, that the categorisation as a pandemic can lead to more government attention.
10. It will help improve funding by international organisations to combat coronavirus.