Epidemic Vs Pandemic



After months of referring to the coronavirus outbreak as an epidemic, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To understand what is Epidemic and Pandemic we need to know different levels of disease in a community.

epidemic vs pandemic


What is an Endemic?

Endemic is a disease among particular people or in a certain area

What is an Epidemic?

An epidemic is an outbreak of an infectious disease that attacks many people in a community at the same time.

What is Pandemic?

PANDEMIC is an epidemic that spreads across geographies with the potential of affecting countless living things.


“It’s useful to compare our preparations for epidemics with our preparations for war” – Bill Gates


“Epidemics follow patterns because diseases follow patterns. Viruses spread; they reproduce;

they die” – Jill Lepore


“Pandemic influenza is by nature an international issue; it requires an international solution’’ – Margaret Chan


“Without equity, Pandemic battles will fail. Viruses will simply recirculate, and perhaps undergo mutations or changes that render vaccines useless, passing through the unprotected populations of the planet’’ – Laurie Garrett

STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?

Worst examples of Endemics


ANTONINE PLAGUE also known as the Plague of Galen, was an ancient pandemic caused due to Smallpox or Measles. This disease was brought back to Rome by the soldiers returning from Mesopotamia in 165 AD which killed over 5 million people.


PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN killed up to 25 million people – half of the population of Europe. It was the outbreak of the bubonic plague which was spread by animals or insects.


THE BLACK DEATH with an estimated death toll between 75 and 200 million people. It was an outbreak of the plague which came from Europe, Africa and Asia and was spread via the bacteria called Yersinia pestis. The rats then spread it to fleas that were on their bodies.



Worst examples of Pandemic

THIRD CHOLERA PANDEMIC considered the deadliest of the seven cholera pandemics with a death toll of around 1 million population from 1852 to 1860. It was originated in India, spreading from the Ganges River Delta before reaching Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. Contaminated water was the means of transmission for this pandemic.


FLU PANDEMIC was an epidemic of the INFLUENZA virus. It was the direct result of the weak immune system as the virus was new and caused severe illness. It claimed the lives of over a million individuals. Rapid population growth of the 19th century helped the flu to spread across the globe. It was the first true epidemic in the era of bacteriology.


SIXTH CHOLERA PANDEMIC originated in India which killed over 800000 population before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Russia. It remained constant in India. The infected people from the U.S were isolated and hence the deaths could be curbed.


FLU PANDEMIC 1918 was deadly influenza it affected the population of 20- 50 million. 500 million of the population was infected with the virus. No vaccines and antibiotics were available to protect against this influenza infection. Isolation, Quarantine, Good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants and limitations of public gatherings were invented ways.


HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC 2005- 2012 Death toll of 36 million. New treatments have been developed that make HIV more manageable and many of those infected go on to lead productive lives. Global death rates have dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.



Beginning in Dec 2019, in the region of Wuhan- China, a new coronavirus began appearing in human beings. No one on the earth has immunity to Covid-19 because no one had Covid-19 until 2019.

WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March and hence people got aware of careful hand-washing to social distancing. Countries across the world declared mandatory lockdowns.


DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive?

An epidemic is an event in which a disease is spreading rapidly of the infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time.


A pandemic is described as a disease that has spread across many countries and affects a large number of people. According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic starts when three conditions have been met:

  • The emergence of a disease which is new to the population
  • The agents infect humans, causing serious illness
  • The agents spread easily and sustainably among the population

Epidemic vs Pandemic

An epidemic occurs when infectious disease actively spreads in the community. Pandemic is a type of epidemic that spreads in a wider geographical area, infects a greater number of people than an epidemic.
Epidemics happen frequently but many people aren’t familiar with them unless they’re directly affecting their home region. During pandemics, it assumed that everyone can be potentially exposed.
An epidemic is supposed to be curbed when the number of cases diminishes. There is a lot of uncertainty in declaring the complete vanish of any pandemic

Preventive Measure for Epidemic & Pandemic

  • Using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently.
  • Keep the surroundings clean and disinfect the residences.


  • Get vaccinated to improve immunity and reduce the chance of getting infected.
  • Stay at home if you have the symptoms of the infection and are subjected to quarantine.


  • Don’t share personal care items.
  • Not having visitors in the infection stage.
  • Staying at least 6 feet away from people in your household.

Social Distancing

Until scientists and medical professionals develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the measure easily available to each one of us is social distancing – to reduce physical contact. Social distancing allows us to avoid larger crowds or crowded spaces.


Examples of social distancing:

  • Working from home instead of at the office.
  • Closing schools and colleges and switching to online classes.
  • Visiting loved ones electronically i.e. virtual chat, video calls, etc.
  • Canceling or postponing sports events, conferences, festivals, and social gatherings.


Pandemics can be battled only if we take the precautions seriously which are intended to minimize the spread. Each of us must follow the protocols responsibly.

Implementing the needful actions helps to strengthen the preparedness at global, national and regional levels.

Author: Riddhi Pansare

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