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    COVID-19 moving toward a pandemic

"We are moving toward SARS-CoV-2 being a pandemic virus," says Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group.

The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes has been named COVID-19. The virus was first detected in Wuhan City, China, and has now been identified in 32 countries, including the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high globally and across the U.S.

Locations with confirmed COVID-19 Cases

"Large numbers of cases are now beginning to occur in South Korea. How and whether it spreads from there, as well as in Western Europe, will be determinative in understanding how far and easily this virus will spread worldwide," says Dr. Poland.

A pandemic refers to a global epidemic — one that has spread over several countries or continents affecting a large number of people.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the evolving health situation and offer updated information, as available.

Learn more about coronaviruses.

Check the CDC website for additional updates on COVID-19.
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