BREAKING: The World Health Organization today declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The organization previously resisted the classification.
The last time the WHO declared a pandemic was during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, which infected nearly a quarter of the world’s population. The virus has spread aggressively to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States, infecting more than 121,000 people.
At a press conference today in Geneva, the WHO’s organizational headquarters, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebryesus told reporters, “In the past two weeks, the number of cases outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled. In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”
The act of declaring a pandemic is a reluctant act WHO officials have been attempting to avoid as it further rattles an already fragile world market.