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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.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
6 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.