A pandemic is defined as an epidemic that occurs worldwide or in a very large area, transcends international borders, and often affects large numbers of people. You can find more information below.

What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. Viral respiratory diseases caused by a new flu virus or coronavirus (COVID-19) are the diseases that can most easily turn into a pandemic. The disease behind the pandemic can cause serious health problems and can easily spread from one person to another.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for declaring when a global flu epidemic occurs. WHO does this by monitoring outbreaks of a disease and seeking advice from international health experts. However, Turkey and other countries tend to take steps to mitigate the impact of a pandemic before WHO makes a formal declaration.

As of March 2020, the world is currently facing a global COVID-19 pandemic. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that this disease is a pandemic. Because of this, many governments have restricted free movement and self-isolated to limit the spread of the epidemic.

Are pandemic and epidemic the same thing?

The answer to the question of what is a pandemic, according to WHO, is the worldwide spread of a new disease. While an epidemic is confined to a single city, region or country, a pandemic spreads beyond national borders and possibly the entire world.

Authorities consider a disease an epidemic when the number of people with the infection exceeds the estimate in a given area. If an infection becomes widespread in several countries at the same time, it can turn into a pandemic.

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A new virus strain or subtype that is easily transmitted between humans can cause a pandemic. For example, when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, it can cause the disease it triggers to spread rapidly. Sometimes, as in the past, pandemics occur when new diseases, such as the black plague, tend to spread rapidly.

People may have little or no immunity to a new virus. Often times, a new virus cannot spread between animals and humans. But if it mutates, it can easily begin to spread and result in a pandemic.

Seasonal flu outbreaks often occur as a result of subtypes of a virus already circulating among humans. The development of new subspecies usually causes an epidemic and then a pandemic.

A pandemic affects more people and can be more deadly than an epidemic. It can also lead to greater social disruption, economic loss and other general hardships on a larger scale.

COVID-19 and pandemic

The current pandemic, announced in March 2020, has had an unprecedented impact around the world. COVID-19 is a disease that develops due to a type of coronavirus infection. The virus began to cause infections in Wuhan, China, before spreading internationally.

On the advice of WHO, more than a third of the world’s population has self-isolated. Many countries, including Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, India and China, have closed their borders.

People in many countries have lost their jobs as a result of businesses shutting down to limit the spread of the virus. Restaurants, gyms, places of worship, parks and offices have closed in many countries.

A pandemic can also increase the pressure on health systems by increasing demand for certain treatments. People with severe COVID-19 symptoms use more ventilators (respirators) and beds in intensive care. As a result, resources may be insufficient for others who need this equipment.

Authorities hope these emergency production measures and movement restrictions, which have a worldwide economic and social impact, will slow the spread of the disease. Countries are collaborating to procure medical equipment and develop a vaccine, although it may not be available for months or even years.

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What can we do during the pandemic?

Some of the possible things that can be done during a pandemic include:

  • With the people you are with, you can access the available information and review what you can do in an emergency.
  • You can list important phone numbers, home and e-mail addresses (including your GP).
  • You can be cautious about food as supplies may be interrupted during the pandemic. It can be helpful to have a small stock of nonperishable foods in case you are asked to self-isolate, including supplies for babies and pets.
  • You can also make sure that you have what you will need for 14 days in the event of a quarantine, and especially medicines.
  • You can read a book at home, study or improve yourself in different areas. If there is a child at home, you can also organize activities that will interest him.
  • You may want to secure things like internet access, which you may need to do if you have to work from home soon.
  • You can follow reliable news and information sources as well as radio and TV news.

How can we isolate ourselves in the pandemic?

If you are experiencing symptoms during the pandemic, or even if you have no symptoms but are confirmed to be infected, you may need to isolate yourself at home.

If you need to isolate yourself, you should:

  • Stay at home for 14 days or as recommended by your doctor, excluding medical care. Do not go to work, school or visit public places, and do not use public transport or taxis.
  • Before visiting the doctor, call and let them know that you may have been exposed to the virus and your symptoms.
  • Stay separate from other people in your home; stay in a different room and use a separate bathroom if available.
  • Ventilate your room regularly. If other people live in the same house, let them ventilate the place they are in regularly.
  • Keep away from elderly people and those with compromised immune systems, heart, lung or kidney ailments and chronic health conditions such as diabetes. Restrict other visitors who do not need to be at home.
  • If you must be around other people, wear a surgical face mask.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Dispose of used wipes in a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available and your hands are not visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share dishes, glasses, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items. Wash these products thoroughly with soap and water after using them.
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If your condition worsens while in isolation, seek immediate medical attention. Before leaving home and visiting your doctor or hospital emergency room, be sure to call and tell them about your travel history.

What is social distance?

Social distancing practices significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, especially during the pandemic period. You can follow some of these applications yourself; other social distancing measures (such as the cancellation of sporting events) may be implemented by the government or private groups and organisations.

Social distancing includes:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to stay far enough away from others
  • avoiding small gatherings indoors, such as family celebrations
  • Taking care to stay at least 1.5 meters between you and other people outside
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging or kissing
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as aged care facilities, hospitals, infants or people with weakened immune systems

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