Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said coronavirus has met some of the criteria for a pandemic — but not all of them.
“The fact that this virus has caused illness – including illness that has resulted in death – and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria for a pandemic," she said.
The virus is "moving closer" toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus, she said.
"As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer towards meeting the third criteria: worldwide spread of the new virus," Messonnier said.
She added that the US is implementing "an aggressive containment strategy" and issuing "extensive travel advisories" to help slow the introduction of coronavirus into the US.
However, she added: "But as more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder."
“Ultimately we expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness. We will maintain, for as long as practical, a dual approach where we continue measures to contain this disease, but also employ strategies to minimize the impact on our communities,” Messonnier said.