During a pandemic, a large number of people in several countries or continents are affected
The US Department of Defense recently released a document that showed officials are preparing for the possibility of a significant global impact of the Covid-19 virus.
According to the document, officials expect COVID-19 will "likely" become a global pandemic within the next 30 days, reports the Newsweek.
Covid-19 has touched every inhabitable continent, infecting more than 82,000 people worldwide since it was first identified last December.
On Saturday, a woman in Washington state became the first death from the virus in America.
Director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Nancy Messonnier said it was inevitable.
"It is 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," Messonnier said.
The use of the term "pandemic" in the briefing documents described a global outbreak, whereas an "epidemic" would be confined to a country," a senior Pentagon official.
During a pandemic, a large number of people in several countries or continents are affected.
The World Health Organization has rejected classifying the outbreak as a pandemic, claiming it doesn't change response measures and can cause unnecessary fear.
However, according to Messonnier the situation is headed that way. She said two criteria of a pandemic–a virus causing illnesses resulting in death and sustained person-to-person spread–have already been met and was moving "closer" to meeting the third criteria: worldwide spread.
"This is very serious," said US President Donald Trump on Saturday.