USA TODAY US Edition

COVID-19 a pan­demic, still a global con­cern

- Brett Kel­man Health · Coronavirus (COVID-19) · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Facebook · U.S. Centers for Disease Control · Instagram · World Health Organization · United States of America · Johns Hopkins University

A meme shared on Face­book says the coro­n­avirus is not a pan­demic. As ev­i­dence, it claims the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion re­moved ref­er­ences to “the COVID-19 pan­demic” from its web­site.

The post in­cludes a screen­shot of the CDC mo­bile home­page, which says at the top, “Coro­n­avirus Dis­ease 2019: CDC is re­spond­ing to the novel coro­n­avirus out­break.”

One Face­book user posted the meme along with these com­ments: “Would you look at that. Yet still out there wear­ing a (mask), still men­tally mess­ing up kids, still have in­sane travel re­stric­tions, still won’t open all busi­ness.” The user did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Many who shared this meme in­cluded #OpenAmer­ica in their posts on Face­book and In­sta­gram.

Has pan­demic been down­graded?

The CDC web­site still refers to COVID-19 as a pan­demic in mul­ti­ple places.

On Sept. 15, the CDC re­leased guid­ance for schools on how to make re­open­ing de­ci­sions, re­fer­ring to the “pan­demic.”

What is a pan­demic?

A pan­demic is de­fined as an out­break of a dis­ease that oc­curs over a wide ge­o­graphic area, such as a con­ti­nent or the en­tire globe.

On March 11, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion de­clared COVID-19 a pan­demic. On March 13, a na­tional emer­gency was de­clared in the USA re­lated to the out­break of the coro­n­avirus.

As of Wed­nes­day, the coro­n­avirus had in­fected more than 31.6 mil­lion peo­ple in 188 coun­tries and re­gions, ac­cord­ing to Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, which tracks the virus world­wide. There are very few coun­tries where the virus has not sur­faced, in­clud­ing sev­eral iso­lated is­land na­tions.

Our rul­ing: False

The meme is wrong. The COVID-19 out­break, though of­ten de­scribed that way, is still a pan­demic and has been since March 11.

As of Wed­nes­day, the coro­n­avirus had in­fected more than 31.6 mil­lion peo­ple in 188 coun­tries and re­gions, ac­cord­ing to Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity, which tracks the virus world­wide.

Our fact check work is sup­ported in part by a grant from Face­book.

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