What Does A ‘Pandemic’ Actually Mean?

6:44 minutes

a 3d model of a cell of coronavirus
A 3D representation of a COVID-19 cell. Credit: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

This story is part of Science Friday’s coverage on the novel coronavirus, the agent of the disease COVID-19. Listen to experts discuss the spread, outbreak response, and treatment.

This week, the total number of dead from the coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19, passed 4,700. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization stated that it considered the outbreak to have become a pandemic. “We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, in a news conference.

Maggie Koerth, senior science writer for FiveThirtyEight, joins Ira to talk about what the declaration means, and how the U.S. response is progressing. Plus, other stories from the week in science, including tensions between researchers and policymakers at the EPA, some scientific treasures found in unusual places, and the tastiness of space-grown salads.

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Maggie Koerth

Maggie Koerth is a science journalist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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