How will the world decide when the pandemic will end?
There is no clear definition of when a pandemic begins and ends. Also, the extent of the threat posed by a pandemic varies from country to country.
“It’s not just the number of cases, it’s a subjective decision. It’s about seriousness, it’s about the impact,” says Dr. Michael Ryan, Head of Emergency at the World Health Organization.
In January 2020, WHO designated the virus as an “internationally concerned” global health crisis. A few months later, in March, the United Nations Health Agency described the outbreak as a “pandemic.” This reflects the fact that the virus has spread to almost every continent and many other health authorities have stated that it can be described as such.
A pandemic may be widely considered if the WHO determines that the virus is no longer an emergency of international concern, and its expert committee reassesses it every three months. However, there are various times when the most serious stages of the crisis are mitigated in the country.
“There will never be a day when someone says’OK, the pandemic is over’,” says Dr. Chris Woods, an infectious disease expert at Duke University. Although there is no universally agreed standard, he said countries are likely to seek sustained reductions in cases in the long run.
Scientists expect COVID-19 to eventually settle into a more predictable virus like the flu. That is, it causes a seasonal epidemic, but not the big surge we are seeing right now. But still, Woods says some habits may continue, such as wearing a mask in a public place.
“COVID is still with us even after the pandemic is over,” he says.
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How will the world decide when the pandemic will end? | WGN Radio 720
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