What you should know
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19, or Coronavirus Disease 2019; caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has reached pandemic status. A pandemic is defined as a disease that has spread beyond the borders of countries where it has already reached epidemic status and led to disease cases worldwide. The last WHO-announced pandemic was due to the H1N1 strain of influenza in 2009. In general, Coronaviruses cause mild self-limiting cold-like symptoms in previously recognized pathogenic strains, such as 229E, OC43, HKUI, and NL 63, while SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV have been shown to produce significant respiratory symptoms.