So, the WHO does a lot of thinking
about pandemics and how to plan for them
and how to control them and think about them.
So when they think about pandemic
diseases, they're very often thinking about
influenza because we deal
with a pandemic influenza often,
and there's always another one
around the corner.
The yearly flu epidemic can
be considered a pandemic.
It's not declared as such because
that tends to be an administrative thing.
But by the soft definitions I've given
you so far, the flu every year is a pandemic.
So it begins with an inter-pandemic phase.
That's the period before we
have the pandemic every year.
Then of course the Alert Phase
where we start noticing cases popping up
in key parts around the world.
Then the pandemic itself begins.
That should be PANdemic, not pandemic.
So that's when cases are
prevalent, incidence rates are high.
The pandemic is raging.
The pandemic starts to wane and we
start transitioning out of the pandemic phase.
But there might be a small
second wave before this is done.
Then we re-enter the interpandemic phase
and wait out the start of the next pandemic.
Note that important administrative tasks
must be done in these various phases.
During the alert phase and the end of
the interpandemic phase, we start to
ramp up our detection capacity
using our surveillance tools
and verifying that these cases genuinely are
the disease we think it is, in this case the "flu".
And we monitor the pandemic
while it's raging around the world
to determine where it is,
whether it's spreading out of control
and which regions need more resources.
Keep in mind though that even
though during the interpandemic phase,
the cases are low or
nonexistent, we are always looking.
Right, we just shift from preparedness
to recovery and back to preparedness.
We must always be in a state of
readiness to deal with these pandemics.