WHO declares coronavirus a ‘global pandemic,’ local universities take action to stop spread

WKU President Timothy Caboni announced a change in university operation due to coronavirus in a March 11 press conference. WKU will extend spring break by one week and then transition to two weeks of online-only classes.

Jack Dobbs

The World Health Organization has designated the coronavirus outbreak a “global pandemic.”

In a statement, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the outbreak is being monitored “around the clock.”

As of March 11, there are over 118,000 cases of coronavirus in 114 countries, Tedros said in the statement. 4,291 people have died as a result of the virus. 

“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” Tedros said in the release. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

This declaration comes after the number of confirmed cases of the virus in the United States reached 938, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As of March 11, all but 11 states have at least one confirmed case of coronavirus, with the majority of cases concentrated on the West Coast and New York. 

Read more: What is the coronavirus? What you need to know to be prepared at WKU

As of March 11, there are eight confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal.

To combat the spread of the disease, multiple universities across the Commonwealth, including University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Berea College have either closed or have moved to online classes in place of in-person classes. 

In a March 11 press conference, WKU president Timothy Caboni announced WKU would add an extra week to its spring break and would move to two weeks of online-only classes. Regular academic operations would resume after April 5, Caboni said.

“If you feel sick, stay home,” Caboni said.

News reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @jackrdobbs.