Netanyahu calls coronavirus spread pandemic

Netanyahu isn’t waiting for the World Health Organization to say it’s so and is calling the coronavirus a pandemic.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The World Health Organization isn’t calling the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, saying the word might spook the world further. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no trouble calling a spade a spade, saying it’s the most dangerous outbreak in the last century.

“First of all, this is a global pandemic, whether the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) calls it such or not. It is a matter of days or hours. It is doubtful whether there has been a similar pandemic in the last 100 years. It seems that the rate of infection is greater than we figured,” Netanyahu said.

Many scientists around the world agree.

“I think it’s pretty clear we’re in a pandemic and I don’t know why WHO [the World Health Organization] is resisting that,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, as quoted by Time Magazine.

“This outbreak meets all the definitions for a pandemic that we had pre-coronavirus,” Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told Time.

The World Health Organization defines a pandemic as “an outbreak of a new pathogen that spreads easily from person to person across the globe.”

Read  IDF will enter Rafah, vows Netanyahu, slamming allies who 'forgot massacre of Jews' on Oct. 7th

But WHO says “we’re not there yet.”

“For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or deaths,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said late last week.

Israel’s leadership isn’t waiting for an official declaration and has issued harsh guidelines to try and contain the potentially deadly contagion, including barring gatherings of more than 5,000 people and blocking travel from countries with a high rate of infection.

“The assumption that the virus will disappear or evaporate in hot weather is unproven. At the moment, this has no basis that we can build on,” Netanyahu said, pointing to the hope of some that the coronavirus will behave like the common flu virus, which affects people during the winter season.

“The virus is currently spreading to Africa. There is no vaccine and anti-viral drugs are ineffective. Economies are starting to be hurt. Governments are ordering their gates closed. This is important for the supply of products for all economies. Nobody knows how the pandemic will end,” he said.

AP contributed to this report.