The fear of coronavirus is looming all over the world. The COVID-19 virus has spread to over 67 countries and resulted in 3,000 deaths globally. The total number of infections is about 89,000 as of Tuesday morning. As the numbers rise to an alarming rate, there's a growing assessment about whether to term Coronavirus as an epidemic or a pandemic. The World Health Organisation declared Coronavirus as a global emergency in last month. Depending upon the severity and effect of the disease, there is "an ongoing assessment" of the geographical spread of the virus, to describe it as a pandemic. If you are wondering what is the difference between the two coinages, let us explain to you a bit more in detail. Coronavirus Live Map: How to Track The Spread of COVID-19 Across The Globe With This Dashboard.

What is an Epidemic?

An epidemic is a term used to broadly describe a problem that has grown out of control. As per definition by Merriam-Webster, an epidemic is "an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population."

What is Pandemic?

A pandemic is the "worldwide spread" of a new disease. The term is used to describe a disease that affects a whole country or the entire world. It means the disease has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

As per Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO executive director addressing a briefing on COVID-19 said, "The word "pandemic comes from the Greek 'pandemos,' which means everybody. Demos means the population. Pan meaning everyone. So 'pandemos' is a concept where there's a belief that the whole world's population will likely be exposed to this infection and potentially a proportion of them fall sick." Ryan also added, "We're in a phase of preparedness for a potential pandemic." So Coronavirus is an epidemic for the people living in China. But as the influenza flu continues to spread to other countries and continents, it is a pandemic.

Watch Video of COVID-19 Briefing by WHO Which Addresses the 'Pandemic':

Depending on the spread, the number of cases and geographic regions, it will be decided if the WHO can term coronavirus as a pandemic. They track a pandemic disease on different stages, one of which is where it is located and how it is spreading from one area to another. If the virus is newly developed, then the human body will have no immunity to it. The new virus thus has to be contained to keep it from spreading to a large population globally, making it a pandemic.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 03, 2020 02:06 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website