Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
The World Health Organization is playing games.
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) explained on its website:
A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.
An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity.
A WHO document advising countries how to respond to such outbreaks used the word ‘pandemic’ 485 times across 64 pages back in 2009. That same document contained a table describing the six phases of a pandemic:
But two days ago, a spokesperson told Reuters the WHO no longer recognizes this term. ‘Pandemic’ has apparently been struck from its vocabulary.
According to Tarik Jasarevic, people may use this term colloquially to describe the spread of a new pathogen, but that’s their private affair. Say what?
There’s a new, highly contagious, stealth virus out there. Some people who contract it will end up in ICU with serious complications. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill flu. It began killing people in China several weeks ago, and has now spread to 40 countries. A dozen Italian towns are currently in lock-down, complete with police roadblocks. Hong Kong has closed schools until late April. The deputy health minister of Iran has tested positive.
Take another look at Phase 6, above. Sustained outbreaks in at least three countries, in two different parts of the world. We’re well beyond that.
Yet the WHO is playing word games. It says this isn’t a pandemic. It’s merely a PHEIC – which stands for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Does that make you feel safe?