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COVID-19: Outbreak, Epidemic or Pandemic?


According to WHO, an outbreak of a disease refers to a sudden occurrence of a disease in an excessive amount than it was expected as standard. An epidemic of a disease refers to a widespread of an infection within a community within a certain amount of time. A pandemic of disease, on the other hand, refers to speedy contamination beyond a community, which means, all over a country or in a worst-case scenario, throughout the world. 


On March 11, 2020, WHO tweeted in their official handle, quoting Dr.Tedros that COVID19 could be assessed as a Pandemic (Business Today, 2020). 

Now the question arises, why it is a Pandemic situation? Mathematical calculation of the exponential growth of Coronavirus (Covid 19) shows that 1 infected person can infect other 2.5 people and each of that 2.5 people can do the same (Global News, 2020). Thus, this viral attack does not restrict within its epicentre Wuhan, China, where it all started. The first case is noticed on November 17 2019; however, because of lacking knowledge about the nature of this new virus, no precaution has been taken as such in the initial stage. 


Chinese Lunar New Year was on the corner when a huge communal gathering is expected to occur, and amidst it, the unprecedented thing happened that Human History could ever imagine.    Chinese Lunar New Year eve was on January 24 2020, which is a holiday season. Many Chinese community members all over the world went to their home to China or Chinese people decided to have trips abroad. It was reported by the Chinese Transport Ministry that between January 10 2020 and January 19 2020, there were 120 million railway trips. The outbreak was already there at Wuhan, infected numbers and death tolls were soaring high by that time, yet no safety measurement was taken seriously.


Having no control over the spread, finally, China opts for a complete lockdown over the city. The lockdown happened between January 11, 2020, and Lunar New Year, but it was too late then. Mass migration all over the world (to Europe, USA, South Asia, Thailand, Japan and where not) was already been done. Thus from Wuhan outbreak (266 cases on December 31 2019), it becomes a Chinese epidemic (82078 confirmed cases on January 30 2020) and ladders up to a global Pandemic in just a span of 3-4 months (134,000 people all over the world at present) (The Economics Times, 2020).  As currently, there is no specific vaccination is available, the only way to slow down its exponential growth and buy some time for survival is to maintain social distance, stay home and follow basic respiratory hygiene.  


COVID19 not only shows a global health crisis, but it also proves that each country should invest more in healthcare R&D rather than nuclear science. Experts believe that with the recovery of this health issue, the world will face a substantial socio-economic crisis. International Labour Organization already estimated that 25 millions of unemployment is waiting, and World GDP will be at stake (UNDP, 2020). To fight all odds, UNDP has already stretched its helping hands. However, all the prayers to the entire medical service providers to us so that we can all overcome this long night towards a new dawn. 



Reference list


Business Today (2020). Coronavirus: WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic, India fights back with Epidemic Act. [Online]. Available at:

Global News (2020). A look at the math behind social distancing amid Coronavirus. [Online]. Available at:

The Economics Times (2020).  China's move to lockdown Wuhan delayed spread of Coronavirus. [Online]. Available at:

UNDP (2020). COVID-19 pandemic Humanity needs leadership and solidarity to defeat the Coronavirus. [Online]. Available at:


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