How does COVID-19 compare to previous 'pandemics'?
Thomas Wintle

How does COVID-19 compare to previous viral outbreaks? Mark Honigsbaum, a specialist in the history of infectious diseases at City, University of London gives us the answer, explaining how the 2020 novel coronavirus sits next to the so-called 'swine-flu' pandemic of 2009 and what we can learn from past infections.

Despite the World Health Organization's reticence to use the word, Honigsbaum says that if we compare COVID-19 to previous instances of viruses, it could indeed be described as a 'pandemic'. However, he says the desire not to use the term may be political.