PUBLISHED: 20:00, Wed, Apr 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 20:19, Wed, Apr 1, 2020
Pandemic is an aptly-timed documentary series airing on Netflix and it recalls a number of previous pandemics including Spanish Flu and swine flu. The series follows medical experts and scientists who are working hard to find a universal vaccine in order to curb the spread. Earlier in 2020, the coronavirus epidemic was upgraded to a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) - but what is the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic?
On March 11, 2020, the WHO officially announced the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was being classed as a global pandemic.
Those who are concerned about the severity of the coronavirus have been wondering what makes a virus qualify as a pandemic.
An epidemic is used in a broader sense to describe any problem which has grown out of control, where a disease is actively spreading.
The official definition of epidemic is: "Affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent."
There is also a definition which says it is a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something.
READ MORE: Pandemic on Netflix: How long have previous pandemics lasted?
Pandemic: A busy hospital (Image: Netflix)
On the other hand, the term pandemic refers to geographical spread and is used to describe a disease which impacts an entire country, or the whole world.
The word epidemic can also be used to describe behaviour, as well as describing matters of health.
In short, epidemic refers to a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected.
Whereas a pandemic is an epidemic which has spread over several countries and impacts a large number of people - so it is somewhat the next level up.
Pandemic: WHO named coronavirus a pandemic (Image: Netflix)