epidemic of infectious disease that has spread across a large region with global health impact
A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν, pan, "all" and δῆμος, demos, "people") is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people.
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- There is no great mystery about the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic – or of any modern pandemic. The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. This is the path to pandemics.
- Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance and Chair of the IPBES workshop, "Escaping the ‘Era of Pandemics’: Experts Warn Worse Crises to Come Options Offered to Reduce Risk", 2020
- [A] pandemic thrives on human inequities and it is inextricable from the society, economy, knowledge, and politics of human existence.
- Surya Gupta and Armin Rosencranz, COVID-19, the Government’s Response, and India’s Sustainable Development Goals (May 22, 2020), edited by Tim Zubizarreta, JURIST
- The connection between epidemics and pandemics and the growth of the modern state is clear. As early as the fifteenth century, in response to the plague, Italian city states formed state-sponsored boards of health. The cholera pandemics of the nineteenth century led to nationwide efforts at quarantine—efforts that could only be carried off by a central state. Measures such as compulsory vaccination also demonstrated this connection.
- The R0 values have important implications for disease control. R0 magnitude indicates the level of mitigation efforts needed to bring an epidemic under control. Mitigation reduces the effective transmission coefficient, now called Re. Re needs to be reduced to less than 1 to ensure cessation of an epidemic, which can be done by rapid case identification, quarantine measures, and physical distancing to prevent secondary transmissions. For childhood diseases such as measles, the cessation of epidemic spread was achieved with an effective vaccine. However, a vaccine has never been a major tool for control of pandemics because they either occurred before the era of modern vaccines or, as in 2009, the vaccine became available only after the first waves had already occurred.
- Eskild Petersen, Marion Koopmans, Unyeong Go, Davidson H Hamer, Nicola Petrosillo, Francesco Castelli, Merete Storgaard, Sulien Al Khalili, Lone Simonsen; “Comparing SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV and influenza pandemics”, The Lancet, Volume 20, ISSUE 9, e238-e244, (September 01, 2020)