The World Health Organization has officially declared that the global coronavirus outbreak is a now a “pandemic.”
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking from Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.
He added that the word "pandemic" should not be taken lightly or used to cause "unnecessary fear," as the virus "can be contained."
Ghebreyesus said the U.N. agency made its determination based upon the “alarming level of severity” and the “alarming level of inaction.”
The virus began in China three months ago. There are now over 121,500 cases worldwide, according to the latest statistics from John Hopkins University.
The university's statistics show there are just over 1,000 cases and 30 reported deaths in the U.S.
“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic," the WHO director said. "If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response."