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Is coronavirus a pandemic? Experts weigh in on whether the outbreak qualifies

Is coronavirus a pandemic? Experts weigh in on whether the outbreak qualifies

A young woman wearing a facemask in Turin, Italy, on February 24, 2020. More than 220 people were infected by Covid-19 in Italy, with 6 people deaths. (Photo by Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto)

revealed in a press conference Monday it no longer declares outbreaks pandemics — seem equally confounded and uneasy with the label. In interviews with Yahoo Lifestyle, two separate experts shared conflicting views on whether or not it is one.’ data-reactid=”23″>The media and the general public are far from the only ones asking questions. Epidemiologists, health security experts and even the World Health Organization — which revealed in a press conference Monday it no longer declares outbreaks pandemics — seem equally confounded and uneasy with the label. In interviews with Yahoo Lifestyle, two separate experts shared conflicting views on whether or not it is one.

Italy, Iran and South Korea, where over half of the more than 800 cases have been traced to a secret religious cult. It’s for this reason that Schaffner, who remains cautious about the pandemic label, is increasingly nervous.’ data-reactid=”26″>If those are the parameters, it seems that this particular virus is — if not already there — heading in that direction. Over the course of a week, the virus has made troubling headway in Italy, Iran and South Korea, where over half of the more than 800 cases have been traced to a secret religious cult. It’s for this reason that Schaffner, who remains cautious about the pandemic label, is increasingly nervous.

“I will say this Sunday I was more anxious and concerned than I was last Sunday,” says Schaffner, who adds that he noticed a “note of concern” in the voice of Nancy Messonnier, head of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, on the most recent press call. “She told us we can expect more cases and there may actually be some bursts of transmission here but we think we can get on top of those. But you know, we’re looking internationally and we’re nervous.”

Schaffner disagrees, and worries the label will cause undue panic. “It’s a word for something that’s really bad and has very serious consequences and is spreading around the world, which will wreak a lot of humanitarian damage and cause a lot of deaths,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “And it also leaves a lot of turbulence — societal disruption and economic downturn in its wake. So there’s nothing good about it. And so I think that that’s why people obviously are concerned and they feel that they may be a victim of this thing that’s coming, and they feel kind of helpless about it.”

The epidemiologist says it removes the “locus of control” and makes people feel that there is “not much they can do except wash their hands and close the door and stay behind at home.” But since the risk in America remains low, even if it becomes a pandemic, that may increase worry where there should be none. “People are always more anxious than the actual risk … but they’re just human beings,” he says. “Are we surprised that we have an outbreak of coronavirus anxiety? No, we shouldn’t be.”

Where he does align with Adalja is the likelihood that the label would “galvanize” global efforts. “The pandemic part will bring attention to any laggards out there,” Schaffner says. “When you declare a pandemic, everybody has to sit up and pay attention.”

Michael Bloomberg Surges in Poll and Qualifies for Democratic Debate in Las Vegas WASHINGTON — Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York has qualified for Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas, the first time the billionaire will appear onstage alongside … read more