Difference between outbreak, epidemic and pandemic

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- In recent weeks, COVID-19 has been described as three things: an outbreak, epidemic and pandemic. But officials say there is a difference. So, which is it? Despite the CDC saying that number of infections doesn't warrant pandemic status, the The World Health Organization says it does.

Regional Epidemiologist for Mesa County Public Health Andy Tyler says an "outbreak" is more local and usually happens when a small group of people in one location get sick.

An Epidemic is when a disease spreads to more people, leading to a spike in cases, like the flu.

"What this COVID was, was of course at first an epidemic of disease in China, it became an epidemic of disease in other areas of the world and that's when it started spilling over into pandemic,” says Regional Epidemiologist Mesa County Public Health Andy Tyler.

During a pandemic there's a need for more resources in different parts of the world, sometimes leading to shortages. But local health officials say they are working to ensure that it doesn't come to that.

This is the first time in 11 years that the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. The last time they did was during the 2009 Swine Flu.



 
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