The World Health Organization declared Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the globe can now be characterized as a pandemic.
WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak.
“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response,” he said.
The declaration came as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continued to skyrocket. Delays at the federal level have left many state and local health authorities racing to catch up, with backlogs of people waiting to be tested for the COVID-19 disease.
There are now more than 1,000 cases in the United States – eight times more than just a week earlier. At least 32 people have died of the virus nationwide.