What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.  It’s important to note that the term pandemic refers to the geographic spread of a disease and not necessarily the severity of the disease.

An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads around the world, and most people do not have immunity.  Viruses that have caused past influenza pandemics typically originated from animal influenza viruses.

Some aspects of influenza pandemics can appear similar to seasonal influenza while other characteristics may be quite different.  For example, both seasonal and pandemic influenza can cause infections in all age groups, and most cases will result in self-limited illness in which the person recovers fully without treatment or hospitalization.  However, typical seasonal influenza causes most of its deaths among the elderly while other severe cases occur most commonly in people with a variety of medical conditions.

By contrast, the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic caused most of its severe or fatal disease in younger people, both those with chronic conditions as well as healthy persons, and caused many more cases of viral pneumonia than is normally seen with seasonal influenza.

For both seasonal and pandemic influenza, the total number of people who get severely ill can vary.  However, the impact or severity tends to be higher in pandemics in part because of the much larger number of people in the population who lack pre-existing immunity to the new virus.  When a large portion of the population is infected, even if the proportion of those infected that go on to develop severe disease is small, the total number of severe cases can be quite large.

When is flu season?

Influenza activity usually lasts from October to May in the United States.

What can I do to stay well?

  • Get an annual flu vaccine.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

Useful Links

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Influenza (Flu)

WHO:  Pandemic Preparedness

CDC Influenza Vaccine Information

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine (Inactivated or Recombinant): What you need to know 

Vacuna contra la influenza (gripe) (inactivada o recombinante): Lo que necesita saber


The Village of Ridgewood, along with other parts of New Jersey, has seen a sharp increase of cases of COVID-19, a viral infection affecting the respiratory system, in the local community. While the majority of the symptoms of COVID-19 are mild - presenting with only mild fever and cough, a small percentage of cases are severe which may result in hospitalization. The elderly and people with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The situation is dynamic and this website will attempt to reflect the most recent and accurate information. 


The key symptoms to be aware of are:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath


  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Social distance by limiting non-essential travel and avoiding contact with others, regardless of whether they have any symptoms


  • combines information from the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and The White House to provide up-to-date information about COVID-19
  • provides New Jersey specific information about COVID-19 including the location of testing sites and jobs portal
  • Call (General COVID-19 Questions): 2-1-1 (7a-11p)
  • Call (Medical COVID-19 Questions): 1-800-962-1253 (24/7)
  • Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts
  • For emotional support during the COVID-19 outbreak – 866-202-HELP (4357) or
  • REPORT price gouging! If you believe it is occurring contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs - 973-504-6240