pandemic (panˈdemik)

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is affecting the lives of people worldwide. Image from www.cdc.gov

A novel coronavirus, more specifically SARS-CoV-2, was named a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) a few days ago. Since then, the word “pandemic” has been in the headlines a lot. Let’s break it down.

According to the WHO, a pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people. Pandemic consists of two Greek roots: pan- meaning all, and dem- meaning people. A pandemic is something that affects all people. COVID-19, the disease that is caused by the coronavirus, has spread to all the continents (except Antarctica). As of yesterday, the death toll was 6,470 and the number of cases was 164,837.

The threat of COVID-19 is transforming the daily lives of people worldwide. People are panic buying essential goods and panic selling stocks. It is important to note that the word panic and pandemic originate from two different Greek words. Panic is derived from the Greek god of the wild, Pan. It is said that when Pan was in the midst of battle, he would release a great shout, scaring his enemies away and often causing mortals unspeakable terror, forcing them to flee from him.

In Louisville, Kentucky, schools are closed for two weeks, events have been cancelled, and gatherings of 50 or more people are discouraged. The streets are strangely empty as people stay home to contain the spread of the disease. What’s it like in your part of the world?

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this time!

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