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Is COVID-19 a Pandemic? | March 2020 Update

Aug 30, 2022
Thanks to Brilliant for supporting this episode of SciShow. Visit Brilliant.org/SciShow for more information. {♫Intro♫} This video was filmed on March 3,

2020

. If we have a more up-to-date version, a link will appear at the top of the description and right up there. Let's go over some terminology to get started. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus, specifically a new type of Coronavirus that suddenly appeared at the end of 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses are common, you have probably had a coronavirus many times, it is a type of virus that causes the common cold. But they can also cause SARS and MERS, two diseases that have very high death rates.
is covid 19 a pandemic march 2020 update
They are very dangerous, and the disease that SARS-CoV-2 causes has been named COVID-19, short for coronavirus disease 2019. This disease spread very quickly in China at first, but new cases are slowing down and now the Most of the new cases are outside of China. This raises the question... do we have a

pandemic

on our hands? And the answer, yes, maybe, also no, and also it doesn't really matter and it really matters a lot. So... that's why this video is here. First of all, "

pandemic

" sounds like an official term, but there are no super strict rules or numbers for when it can or should be used.
is covid 19 a pandemic march 2020 update

More Interesting Facts About,

is covid 19 a pandemic march 2020 update...

In general, we use the term epidemic to describe a sudden and unexpected increase in cases of a disease in a particular region. A pandemic, on the other hand, is the sudden and unexpected worldwide spread of a disease. Why does the difference between those things matter? Well, it's not just whether we use a scarier word in the headlines... there's also a difference in how we respond. Epidemics you contain. Pandemics that only you can mitigate. So how do we decide when something is a pandemic? Researchers have said they would need to see evidence of sustained domestic transmission in at least one more region outside the Pacific region that includes China, Japan and South Korea before using the term "pandemic." So the question is whether these cases outside the Pacific are spreading on their own.
is covid 19 a pandemic march 2020 update
Not only the newcomers, but also the new spread. And while we didn't see any evidence of that in the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak, we've now seen cases that aren't directly related to travel or exposure to people who have traveled. Instead, it looks like it could be what's known as community spread. Community spread, or community cases, are essentially when the source of the infection is unknown. In this case, that would mean that people who have not been to China and have not been in direct contact with someone who was recently in China are getting sick.
is covid 19 a pandemic march 2020 update
It is spreading from person to person in your own community through droplets from coughing or sneezing or just speaking out loud. As of February 29, three US states have reported community-acquired cases: California, Oregon, and Washington. And a preliminary genetic analysis of the virus, taken from samples from two separate patients in Washington state, suggests the virus spread silently there for a time. The virus in the two patients had a particular genetic signature that only a small fraction of the samples from China had. If the two cases were new filings from abroad, it would be unlikely that both would have such a signature.
That suggests that there has been sustained transmission in Washington state for several weeks, although we would need to find the sick people who made that transmission to confirm that. It seems likely that there are more cases than outbreak responders are aware of, probably because those people simply aren't sick enough to go to the doctor. So does this make this a pandemic? Again, there is no hard and fast rule, but remember that we would need to see not only domestic transmission, but sustained transmission as well. So is that happening? Well, many experts and scientists say yes, but as of this recording, the WHO (World Health Organization) has chosen not to use the word pandemic.
And it just so happens that the WHO is having meetings between when we're filming this and when you're watching it. They are the ones who can say, though even if they do say it, it's not a formal term, just their assessment of things. The formal use of the word "pandemic" was withdrawn in 2009! If they decide in those meetings that they have seen what they are looking for, they can change from their current policy of trying to contain the disease, call it a pandemic, and switch to a strategy of mitigating the effects. They're looking for sustained community-acquired transmission, meaning many, many cases where no one knows how someone got sick.
Now this may seem like a nicety, but there are reasons why you may feel shy about making this call. No one responds to news like "there's a pandemic" lightly, and they get it. As for why we ended up in this situation in the first place, we have some ideas as to why COVID-19 has been able to spread. As we mentioned, it is transmitted from person to person in droplets when a sick person coughs or sneezes. It has also been suggested that people without any symptoms are spreading various cases. That is called asymptomatic transmission. But on Tuesday, the WHO said that, at least in China, only 1 percent of reported cases had no symptoms, and most of them developed symptoms within days.
So it looks like asymptomatic transmission is really rare, and that's unlikely to be the main driver of new cases, which is very good news. Pandemic or not pandemic, it is important to remember that this designation has nothing to do with how deadly a disease is. The term only describes where the disease is spreading. It doesn't tell you anything else. And we're not really sure what the death rate of COVID-19 is. It's changing so fast that it's hard to even pick a number to quote. For one thing, so far it has been different in China than in the rest of the world, and different in some parts of China than in other parts of China.
On the other hand, the actual rate could be much lower, since mild cases may well go unrecognized. You may have heard a figure of around two percent quoted in the news, and that's supported by the literature published so far, but it's probably not the number we have when the dust settles. And the number will be very different in places with stronger health care systems than in places that don't have a lot of ventilators. We're planning another whole episode for you on how we understand and compare death rates, so stay tuned for that. In the end, whether something is an epidemic or a pandemic may have as much to do with our response to the disease as the disease itself.
If it is an epidemic, the nation or region where it is occurring can try to contain it and prevent it from spreading. But with a pandemic, the focus may be more on mitigation efforts, such as surveillance, treatment, and protection of vulnerable populations. They can also focus on slowing the spread of the disease through what's called social distancing: things like suspending school or postponing mass gatherings, rather than simply trying to keep you out of the community. And there are also things that we as individuals can do to help prevent the spread of disease. People should be aware of the symptoms of this disease, which include fever, dry cough, and tiredness.
Those are the main COVID-specific things to keep in mind. People can also have aches and pains, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose... and now I realize I'm just listing the symptoms of a cold or flu! That is why it is very important to contact your doctor if you start to have any difficulty breathing, which is more indicative of this disease. And when I say contact a doctor, I mean call him, don't go sit in a waiting room with a bunch of strangers. The US Centers for Disease Control recommends avoiding touching your face, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home if you are sick yourself.
You should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. That's not just an empty commonplace. Coronaviruses are surrounded by an envelope of oily material. And soap is very, very good at breaking up and dissolving oily things. So washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds - about the time it takes to sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or Toto's "Africa" ​​chorus, whichever you prefer - is a genuinely effective way to destroy virus particles. . And you should also get a flu shot. We mean this. Now, the flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19, but the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms.
Which means that one could be confused with the other, placing an additional burden of testing and treatment on healthcare providers. Plus, you're less likely to catch the flu, and the flu sucks. Also, if you do get it, it will probably be less severe, which means you're less likely to need treatment from a potentially overburdened health care system. They also want people to stop buying masks. Surgical masks are good for keeping your stuff in, not necessarily the world. So unless you're a healthcare worker or already sick, or you're in a specific situation where your doctor has recommended a mask, they're not going to do much good.
And we should leave them for the people who need them. In short, it is understandable that the word "pandemic" is being used, whether COVID-19 is one by definition or designation by the WHO or not. It's okay to be worried. After all, events like this are uncertain and we can give you some data here at SciShow, but we can't eliminate that uncertainty. There are many people who have been affected, families who have lost loved ones and we must hold them in our hearts. But when you see the whole story from a thousand feet up, it's relatively mild compared to what we feared.
There are clear things that we can all do to reduce the risk of transmission, both for our own benefit and that of those around us; And there are a lot of smart people working very hard to improve this. Outro: Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow News. We really hope that it has helped you understand a complex and rapidly changing situation. And it's been featured in part by Brilliant.org. They want to help us all become smarter day by day, and for that they have their daily challenges. From statistics to electricity to computing, these questions will give you a new way to challenge yourself every day and learn how we understand the world around us.
Each problem comes with illustrations, animations, or interactive visualizations, and all the context you need to solve the problem yourself. Also, you can access each day's challenges for free, although Premium members have access to the full archive. And the first 200 people to sign up at Brilliant.org/SciShow will get 20% off an annual Premium subscription. Just remember: By checking them out, you help support us so we can make videos like this. So thanks. {♫Outside♫}

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