WHO Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general, on Wednesday. He called for countries to help protect one another against a common threat. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

Updated: March 11, 2020

Coronavirus Has Become a Pandemic, W.H.O. Says

The spread of the coronavirus is now a pandemic, officials at the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

“We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director-general.

Dr. Tedros called for countries to learn from one another’s successes, act in unison and help protect one another against a common threat.

“Find, isolate, test and treat every case, and trace every contact,” Dr. Tedros said. “Ready your hospitals. Protect and train your health care workers.”

“Let’s all look out for each other, because we’re in this together to do the right things with calm and to protect the citizens of the world.”

Although this is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, “we also believe that this is the first pandemic that is able to be controlled,” Dr. Tedros added.

He pointed several times to the success of China, which has cut new infections from over 3,500 a day in late January to a mere 24 in the most recent daily count. The world is watching to see whether China can keep its numbers down as it gradually releases millions of city dwellers from quarantine and lets them go back to work.

South Korea and Singapore have also begun to see cases drop. But the rest of the world is seeing alarmingly rapid rises.

The W.H.O. is emphatically not suggesting that the world should give up on containment, Dr. Tedros said.

“We are suggesting a blended strategy,” he said, referring to a blend of containment and mitigation. “We should double down. We should be more aggressive.”

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In U.S., Efforts to Contain Coronavirus Show Signs of Faltering (UPDATE)


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke to reporters March 7 in Northwest D.C., saying a man in his 50s was admitted to a D.C. hospital on March 5. (DC Mayor’s Office)

The Washington Post

Updated: March 7, 2020

Efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak showed signs of faltering over the weekend, as Washington, D.C., confirmed its first case Saturday and Italian leaders announced a plan early Sunday to lock down an entire region including Venice and Milan after reporting 1,000 new cases in 24 hours.

The virus’s exact reach remains unknown. Late Saturday, the American Conservative Union announced that an individual who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference less than two weeks ago had tested positive. President Trump, Vice President Pence and a number of other top White House officials had appeared at the four-day event in Maryland.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said neither Trump nor Pence was in “close proximity to the attendee,” but ACU chairman Matt Schlapp told The Washington Post on Saturday that he himself interacted with the infected person at the event. The precise chronology could not be learned, but Schlapp did shake Trump’s hand on the stage on the last day of the conference.

“I think we have to be calm and see what occurs here and hope our friend gets better,” Schlapp said.

White House officials appeared to minimize the risk but said they were taking precautions. Trump told reporters at his personal resort in southern Florida that he wasn’t worried.

“I’m not concerned at all,” Trump said as he met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for dinner. He also indicated that his campaign rallies, which draws thousands of supporters to large venues nationwide, will continue, saying: “We’ll hold tremendous rallies.”

The virus has now spread to more than 30 U.S. states and 99 countries, according to a Washington Post analysis. At least six U.S. governors have declared states of emergency. There are now more than 100,000 infected people in the world and more than 400 confirmed cases in the United States, where there have been at least 19 deaths. This includes the addition Saturday of two in Washington state. Florida officials announced two deaths on Friday night. Officials said they had not known one of the two people was infected until after the death.

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Related:

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: The Ethiopian at the Heart of the Coronavirus Fight

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