Covid-19 is the current outbreak in the world that has affected millions of people. The infection was spread by SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus and was later declared as a pandemic. But what is a pandemic? And who has declared it? It was officially confirmed by the World Health Organization, which is an association of international public health. Keep reading this post to know more about pandemics.
What is Pandemic?
According to WHO, when a new disease spreads all over the world, causing serious risks to health, it is declared as a pandemic. In case of an influenza pandemic, the virus comes up from one place and spreads through all continents. It majorly affects the people who are low on immunity. Most of these viruses originate from animals.
Mostly, the symptoms of pandemic flu are similar to that of seasonal flu. However, the details could be different. In the case of Covid-19 or coronavirus, the symptoms are fever, cough, and respiratory issues, which occur with normal flu. The infection severely affects infants, elders, and people who have existing medical illnesses.
It is only the WHO that announces this emergency situation and keeps updating the people about its development. However, the international agency declares it as a pandemic on the basis of the following six phases.
- The viruses that circulate in the animal population don’t spread among human beings. Therefore, these kinds of viruses are not taken as a threat and so there is no risk of declaring a pandemic.
- If the animal virus spreads among the animals and is also known to be spreading among human beings. Such a new virus can become a threat to humans, and hence there could be a chance of a pandemic.
- If the virus from the animal community has spread only in a small human cluster, there might not be a severe risk. Also, it may not be causing an outbreak. In such a case, humans are not at risk, and there may not be a chance of a pandemic.
- If the virus has spread from humans to humans and the outbreak is rapid, and to a great extent, then there could be a chance of an outbreak, which in turn, could put people at risk, and there could be a chance of a pandemic.
- If the new virus has been transmitted to about two countries, it could be risking other countries of the world too. In such a case, there is a high chance of declaring a pandemic.
- In case the new virus has been transmitted to a new country that is in the WHO region, it could be confirmed as a pandemic. Also, this could be, in turn, considered as a global pandemic, which has now taken place in the world.
History of Pandemics
The world has witnessed a few pandemics in the past that affected millions of people. Let’s learn about some of them.
Also known as the 1918 pandemic flu or Spanish flu, the H1N1 virus affected the population from 1918 to 1920 and was spread from birds to humans. It affected people of all ages, and around 500 to 100 million died.
It was the Asian flu or 1957 flu that also spread from the birds to humans. It prevailed from 1957 to 1958 and took the lives of over one million people from all over the world. This flu majorly affected children and teenagers, and also young adults below 39 years of age.
It occurred from 2002 to 2003, and more than 770 people died of it from all over the world. However, it is known to have originated in China. It didn’t take away too many lives because the spread was not rapid.
Caused by an H1N1 virus variety that originated from pigs. The pandemic occurred in the year 2009 and mostly affected the older population, taking the lives of more than 500 thousand people.
Known to transmit from bats to humans and originated in Africa. It was extremely dangerous and took the lives of over 11,000 people.
Also called the Coronavirus pandemic, the virus responsible for this disease originated in China in 2019 and spread all over the world. The information and vaccines are still in the development stages, and till date, it has taken away the lives of more than 1 million people throughout the world.
How to Prepare for a Pandemic?
A pandemic can occur anytime, and it can originate anywhere. As it affects the entire world, people from every town, village, city, and country of the globe need to be prepared for it. Here are some key points you need to keep in mind:
- Know the details of the disease: It is essential to have knowledge about the disease term, including its spread, symptoms, and how to be safe. However, you should gather the information from reputed organizations like WHO and CDC. Do not rely on the rumours and then spread misinformation among others.
- Isolate yourself: It is always a wise decision to self isolate yourself whenever a pandemic is announced. As vital information about the disease is in the development stage, it is better not to be in contact with anyone outside.
- Stay hygienic: Most of the diseases spread in unhygienic surroundings. Hence, you need to keep yourself and your place clean using disinfectants. Keep cleaning surfaces that you touch regularly to avoid contracting the infection.
- Boost immunity: The virus can affect you severely if your immunity is low. In such cases, you should keep yourself healthy and boost your immunity. Make sure to exercise daily and consume healthy food to make yourself fit and strong.
- Keep the drugs ready: There can be a shortage of essential drugs during a pandemic. You should get the over-the-counter medicines in advance and keep them ready at home in case of any emergency situations.
- Stock up your kitchen shelves: During pandemics, there are lockdowns announced. In those scenarios, it gets difficult to get food on time. So, you should get essentials such as food, milk, water, and keep these items ready in your kitchen.
Whenever there is a pandemic, it is essential to follow the rules and keep the necessary details about the disease in mind for the safety of one and the other.