Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images
The World Health Organization finally declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on Wednesday.
What they're saying: "Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus."
The other side: At a time like this, the WHO has to also be worried about unreasonable lack of fear. Fear, after all, is a very useful social distancing mechanism.
Between the lines: The WHO's announcement on Twitter was hardly sober and contained. It has two siren emoji, abundant ALL CAPS and a glaring red-on-blue color scheme.
The message: Up until now, we've been worried that you might panic. Now, we're worried that you're not panicking enough.
My thought bubble: The WHO has an ally in the stock market. The plunge in stock prices is helping many Americans understand the gravity of the current situation.