CNN reports that the World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. This is not only because of the situation in China but because of the possibility of it spreading to other countries with sub-par healthcare systems. The World Health Organization defines a public heath emergency as “an extraordinary event” that poses a “public risk to other states through the international spread of disease.”
Chairman of the committee, Dr. Didier Houssin, said this was a unanimous decision due to the growing spread in China, the amount of new countries showing infections and questionable travel measures taken by certain countries. By declaring coronavirus as a public health emergency WHO is hoping this will make it easier for them to coordinate an international response.
The coronavirus has infected over 8,000 people and killed 171 people with most cases being contained to China. The virus started in December in the city of Wuhan where experts believe that an infected animal at a marketplace initiated the spread. Coronavirus causes the infected to display flu-like symptoms and attacks the respiratory system. So far there have been six cases confirmed in America with the first person-to-person case being confirmed in Chicago earlier on Thursday.
If you needed a reminder to wash your hands and cover your mouth, here you go. Stay sanitary out there, folks.
Clarification: 1/31/20, 1:49 a.m.: The coronavirus hasn’t not officially been declared a pandemic. This story has been updated.