RSTV(In Depth)- Pandemic


The Coronavirus outbreak that began late last year in China has now spread to 29 countries, touching every continent except South America and Antarctica. While most of these cases are still in China, the virus is gaining foothold in other countries, raising fear that the world is on the brink of a pandemic.

1.All pandemics start with an outbreak of a new disease in a specific geographical location. If that outbreak becomes larger, but still remains confined to a specific region, It becomes an epidemic.

At that point, the World Health Organisation may declare a Public health emergency of International concern to raise awareness about it.But once a disease spreads globally with multiple epidemics across different continents, it truly becomes a pandemic.

2.With more cases of COVID-19 emerging in Iran, Europe, United States, U.K, South Korea and Mid-East among others some health experts are warning that the disease is now at Pandemic stageHowever, according to the World Health Organisation Coronavirus is still under an epidemic category although, it is just a step away from being a pandemic.

3.What is Pandemic?

  • Pandemic is derived from the Greek word ‘pan’ all while demise indicates people. The word indicates that the disease  is spreading in multiple countries and continents at the same time.A pandemic has a larger reach, and essentially meets three criteria: it has sustained person-to-person spread; it causes illness, including death; and it affects a large number of people with a worldwide spread.
  • However pandemics refers to only the spread of the disease and not its potency or deadliness. The World Health Organisation defines the term and its outbreak as a new pattern that spreads easily from person to person across the globe.
  • Pandemic also has self-sustaining lines of infection which means it can spread in a healthy state without outside assistance.

4.Pandemic vs Epidemic

Epidemic is a term that is often broadly used to describe any problem that has grown out of control. An epidemic is defined as “an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population.”

An epidemic is an event in which a disease is actively spreading. In contrast, the term pandemic relates to geographic spread and is used to describe a disease that affects a whole country or the entire world.

  • An Epidemic:It occurs when an infectious disease spread rapidly to many people within a country or location.However a pandemic infects more people than an epidemic.
  • Pandemic is often caused by a new virus or a new strain of virus that hasn’t circulated among people for a long time.

5.Phases to the Pandemic

  • The phases to a pandemic present an outline as to when the disease is severe enough to take specific actions, This essentially depends on the path a disease takes beside other demo logical factors. Based on the influenza outbreak in 1999 the world health organisation released the very first influenza Pandemic Preparedness plan in which the outline appropriate response based on 6 clearly outline phases.
  • The aim of the plan to co-ordinate the global response by providing countries a blue print from which to draw up to their own national strategies
  • The World Health Organisation has declared this COVID-19 as Public Health emergency of international importance.
  • Phases one to three are designed to help public health officials  know it is time to develop the tools and action plans to respond to impending threat.
  • Phases four to six are when actions plans are implemented in co-ordination with World Health Organisation. 

6.The World Health Organization (WHO) provides an influenza pandemic alert system, with a scale ranging from Phase 1 (a low risk of a flu pandemic) to Phase 6 (a full-blown pandemic):

  • Phase 1: A virus in animals has caused no known infections in humans.
  • Phase 2: An animal flu virus has caused infection in humans.
  • Phase 3: Sporadic cases or small clusters of disease occur in humans. Human-to-human transmission, if any, is insufficient to cause community-level outbreaks.
  • Phase 4: The risk for a pandemic is greatly increased but not certain.
  • Phase 5: Spread of disease between humans is occurring in more than one country of one WHO region.
  • Phase 6: Community-level outbreaks are in at least one additional country in a different WHO region from phase 5. A global pandemic is under way.

Important topics for Prelims 2020

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