What is the difference between epidemic and pandemic?

Kusum Tewari


COVID-19 is the name of the new illness caused by a
coronavirus that was first identified in China in late 2019.

Here is a list of some of the terminology being used about the new virus:

  1. What is an outbreak?
    A sudden rise in cases of a disease in a particular place.
  2. What is an epidemic?
    A large outbreak, one that spreads among a population or region. The current outbreak of a flu-like illness caused by a new virus in China is considered an epidemic.
  3. What is a pandemic?
    Generally refers to an epidemic that has spread on a more global scale, affecting large numbers of people. While there are cases of illness outside China, the World Health Organization said it is not a pandemic. Exactly when enough places have enough infections to declare one isn’t a black-and-white decision. But generally, the WHO is looking for sustained outbreaks on different continents.
  4. What is coronavirus?
    COVID-19: Name given to the illness caused by the new coronavirus first identified in China in late 2019. CO and VI are for coronavirus, D is for disease, and 19 for 2019. The virus itself is called SARS-cov-2.
  5. What is an incubation period?
    Time between infection and the appearance of signs or symptoms of an illness. The incubation period for the new virus is thought to be up to two weeks.
  6. What is quarantine?
    Restrict movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to an infection to see if they become ill. For example, the passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were quarantined.

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