HARRIS FAULKNER (ANCHOR): All right, we have breaking news, now let's get to it. It has to do with COVID-19. And the World Health Organization has just declared a global coronavirus — it is a pandemic at this point.
Let's talk about what that means. The criteria of a pandemic describes the world spread of a new disease, involves a new virus against which most people do not yet have any immunity. Virus can infect people easily, and spreads person to person. We are seeing those things. It implies efforts to contain an outbreak, in a region or country, have failed. A pandemic describes how widespread an illness is, not how necessarily lethal it is. The WHO has said it is tightening its criteria for classifying an outbreak as a pandemic and is working on a new definition as it relates to coronavirus.
Dr. Nicole Saphier is with us now. What does this mean?
DR. NICOLE SAPHIER (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): To be honest, this means nothing. This is just something we've been waiting for them to announce. A pandemic, as you have already alluded to, is a new virus that we're not containing, and it's spreading across the globe. And this has already been happening, so it was just a matter of time before they actually called it an official pandemic.
What this means is, it's going to continue to give us more funding to focus on this, and this should not dissuade us from what we are already doing. What Schumer had said earlier, what we were just talking about, was saying that the only way to battle this is by treating the coronavirus — that is a very myopic view. Because as we can see, the long-term financial devastation from this panic can be worse than the virus itself.
So we now have called this a pandemic — okay, great, we know that. It's already in the United States, we have community spread. The administration is doing what they can from a specialty standpoint. They're doing what they can to contain and mitigate. They're testing more, they're closing — they're not having large gatherings. Some schools are closed. They are doing what they need to do, and the word is getting out there. We are having daily briefings, and people are being educated.
What I am not going to pretend to know is — the economic person that President Trump is. And I think it is great that we have a president who has historically done wonderful for our economy, who is actually going to continue to focus on that while he lets the specialists and the experts focus on containing the coronavirus.
LESLIE MARSHALL (CO-HOST): Is it just semantic, then, “pandemic”?
SAPHIER: No, I mean, the word — this is a very serious situation. Anyone who says the coronavirus is not serious, you know, is wrong. This is very serious. Any pandemic is serious. But this has been a pandemic for a while now.
MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST): It means at the same time on all continents. I mean, it's like the barebones definition.
SAPHIER: It has been on every continent except Antarctica for a while now.
SAPHIER: It's just been a matter of time until they actually called it a pandemic. I knew it was coming, it's just a formality, exactly.