Every so often a new virus forms that we have no immunity to. If this virus is easily spread between people, it can cause a pandemic – this is an epidemic that spreads to many countries. Many people can become sick and some may die or have long-term health issues.
While a pandemic is somewhat different from other natural disasters like earthquakes or floods, some of the impacts these types of events have on our lives can actually be quite similar. For example, all these types of emergencies may result in being stuck at home or experiencing difficulty in accessing essential services. All disasters also have social and emotional impacts and a pandemic, as with other types of disasters, is likely to cause stress, strain on relationships and changes at work to name a few.
Disasters such as pandemics also catalyze opportunities for communities to come together in new ways to support one another and lead their own response to the challenges they are facing. For more information about being prepared as a community, head to our community ready page.
In the last century, we've experienced influenza (flu) pandemics in 1918/19, 1957/58 and 1968. We currently live in the time of COVID-19 caused by the new SARS-COV-2 virus.
For all the latest information about COVID-19, head to covid19.govt.nz.