Epidemic vs. pandemic — what’s the difference? It’s a question we’ve all asked over the past week as news coverage of COVID-19 continues. Probably the easiest way to remember the difference between the two is that a pandemic is an epidemic. An epidemic is a disease that affects many people over a widespread area all at once. Alternatively, a pandemic is an escalation of that outbreak. To learn more about this situation, the experts at Garden Heights Recovery can help.
The Ramifications of a Pandemic
In March, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic rather than an epidemic. This declaration means it has spread from continent-to-continent in a swift, unforeseen way. The growth of COVID-19 is not stable. Instead, its number of victims increases by the day. For the most part, the disease makes you feel sick, similar to the flu. But for some, it escalates quickly and with dangerous results.
Who Is Most At-Risk From COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists those who are at more at-risk from COVID-19. These include:
- People over the age of 65
- Anyone who has an underlying medical condition such as cancer, diabetes, or lung disease
- Those who suffer from asthma
- People who are HIV-positive
- People who struggle with addiction
It is possible to stem the spread of this disease, however, by following simple, proactive practices that include staying home as much as possible, avoiding large crowds of people, and washing your hands often. By self-quarantining, we can help shorten the COVID-19 pandemic.
Epidemic vs. Pandemic: When Is It Time to Panic?
Even as the virus transitions from epidemic vs. pandemic, there is no need to panic over the news relating to COVID-19. While it’s true the disease can be fatal, experts are describing the fatality rate as between 2 and 3 percent. If someone is critically ill at the onset, the fatality rate is higher. Still, COVID-19 is much less deadly than SARS with its 9.6 fatality rate and MERS with its 34.4 percent fatality rate. Most of the people who contract COVID-19 live to talk about their symptoms.
What is concerning about this new virus is that’s it’s more contagious than both SARS and MERS, meaning it can sweep across populations with alarming speed. The problem remains the same whether the disease is an epidemic vs. a pandemic. Still, most who contract COVID-19 develop only flu-like symptoms, and most can recover at home without medical intervention.
What Happens If I Fall Sick?
If you begin experiencing flu-like symptoms while in COVID-19 self-quarantine, call your doctor or the nearest medical center and seek advice right away. Unless you have extenuating factors such as a chronic illness, many doctors will advise you to stay in self-quarantine and do the following:
- Separate yourself from other family members
- Wash your hands often
- Don’t share dishes or utensils
- Clean and disinfect the areas you use
- Wear a facemask if you have one
- Avoid turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with stress
As far as caring for yourself medically, taking your doctor’s advice is the best course of action. It may benefit you to get plenty of rest and to stay hydrated. In many cases, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and cough medicine may be helpful, but you should take them only under the advice of your physician.
What Else Can I Do to Help?
As in all cases of epidemic vs. pandemic, there’s a lot you can do to help during this time of crisis. Use your phone or internet to check in on older neighbors, friends, and family members to make sure they’re in good health and have the supplies they need. Otherwise, avoid person-to-person contact with the elderly and with anyone who may have a compromised immune system. Remain in self-quarantine and follow the recommendations of your state governor during this time. Make as few trips to grocery stores, pharmacies, and laundromats as possible.
Together, we’ll get through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ll get there faster if we take the recommended precautions. If you need mental health or addiction treatment, contact Garden Heights Recovery today at 201.275.1163.