The “threat of a pandemic has become very real,” but COVID-19 is still not a pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday, according to Vox.
The WHO is avoiding the “P-word” because of:
- Uncertainty about the disease’s impact
- The limited number of cases in most countries
- The thinking that containment is not yet hopeless
Regardless of the name, the outbreak is wreaking havoc around the globe:
- Italy gave up trying to quarantine its northern region, putting the whole nation—60 million—on lockdown, according to Reuters, while prisoners rioted in jails nationwide after visiting rights were suspended.
- Israel took the extreme step of mandating quarantine for everyone stepping foot in the country, NPR Goats and Soda reports.
- Canada recorded its first death from the virus, Globe and Mail reports, at a home for senior citizens.
Meanwhile, new research is trickling in:
- A new study estimates that the median time from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to symptoms is 5.1 days. The study, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, supports the CDC’s suggested quarantine period of 14 days for individuals likely exposed to the virus.
- Another new study, from German scientists, shows that people begin shedding the virus heavily soon after infection with SARS-CoV-2, STAT reports—explaining why it is spreading so efficiently. It also indicates that people with mild symptoms are likely no longer infectious after about 10 days—even if their tests turn up positive.