COVID-19 Officially Declared a Pandemic by WHO


The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

Global Health

As more cases of COVID-19 emerge globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially characterized the outbreak a pandemic, making it the first pandemic sparked by a coronavirus, the WHO announced in a press briefing.1

According to WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by the virus. He noted that the organization, however, is “deeply concerned by both the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

More than 120,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world and there have been over 4300 deaths, according to ContagionLive. However, most of the cases have been mild and approximately 65,000 people have been reported recovered.

In the United States, the total number of cases has now passed 100.

Evidence to date suggests that those at the highest risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease are older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and cancer. The risk of disease gradually increases with age, starting from 40 years, according to WHO.2

“Find, isolate, test, and treat every case and trace every contact,” Dr Tedros said in the briefing. “Ready your hospitals, protect and train your health workers and let’s all look out for each other because we need each other.”

Related: What Pharmacies Are Doing to Mitigate Shortages Due to COVID-19

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit our sister publication


1. World Health Organization. Virtual press conference on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020.

2. World Health Organization (WHO). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 51. WHO's website.

. Accessed March 11, 2020. 

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