The World Health Organization has officially declared the COVID-19 virus (best known as coronavirus) a worldwide pandemic as the disease spreads across the world and the death toll mounts.

Via Yahoo! News:

As the COVID-19’s casualty count mounted, the organization had resisted characterizing the disease as a pandemic.

Yet the organization finally relented, with worldwide infections well above 100,000 and the death toll spiking above 4,000.

The disease is threatening to overtake Europe and the United States, even as infections in Asia fall from their worst peaks. With the economic and business toll mounting, global markets have been engulfed in waves of panic selling.

“We have therefore made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director general.

Major benchmarks sank to new session lows in volatile trading after the declaration.

A disease outbreak is considered an epidemic if it only affects a small number of people within a short period of time.

Once the disease spreads across several continents and affects a large number of people, it’s then called a pandemic.