From a few days ago, a rebuttal to a piece of stupidity in the media:
Quote from afludiary.blogspot.com
There's an editorial today in Canada's National Post expressing outrage that the World Health Organization continues to label the spread of novel H1N1 a `pandemic', and castigating the WHO for not retracting the pandemic declaration (and apologizing) once the severity of the H1N1 virus proved to be less than catastrophic.
...his is a curious notion indeed; that public health officials and scientists should rely on layman's definitions when making policy or issuing advice.
While that may sound reasonable, the reason doctors and scientists endeavor to use precise scientific terms is to avoid ambiguity.
As far as I know, there is no single popular `lay' definition of a pandemic. Not one that is applicable and well understood across all cultures and societies of the globe.
The popular `lay' perception of a pandemic - at least in the western world - seems to be based on novels like George R. Stewarts Earth Abides, Stephen King's The Stand, and the BBC's production of Survivors.