The epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic has moved from China, where it began late last year, to Europe and the United States. The World Health Organization declared covid-19 a pandemic on March 11 as the coronavirus that causes it infiltrated countries all over the world.
The disease, which can trigger severe respiratory symptoms, has been reported on every continent except Antarctica and in more than 170 countries. Some countries are confirming thousand of new cases each day, including the United States, where testing was slow to begin.
The U.S. total of confirmed cases has exceeded China’s and is now the highest in the world. Covid-19 has been reported in every state and in many U.S. territories. As more tests are performed, many states are seeing rapid growth in the number of known cases.
For months, China had the most confirmed cases worldwide, but its tally of new reported infections peaked in mid-February and is now approaching zero.
As the disease waned in China, it began to surge through Europe, and by late March, more people had died from the virus in Italy and Spain than in China.
The majority of China’s cases were reported in the Hubei province, where Chinese health officials said the new virus strain leaped to humans from wild animals that were sold at a market in the capital city of Wuhan.
Coronaviruses range from some common cold viruses to those that cause much more serious diseases, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Some strains spread more efficiently than others; the virus that causes covid-19 seems to spread easily from person to person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Number of cases data WHO, CDC, NHC and Dingxiangyuan, collected by Johns Hopkins University.
*U.S. flu season estimates are preliminary and based on data from the CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance reports summarizing key influenza activity indicators.
Lauren Tierney, Joe Fox, Tim Meko, Chris Alcantara, John Muyskens, Shelly Tan, Adrián Blanco, Armand Emamdjomeh, Youjin Shin, Monica Ulmanu, Harry Stevens, Kevin Schaul and Bonnie Berkowitz contributed to this report.
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An earlier version of this graphic included Hong Kong cases that were being monitored.
About this story
Originally published Jan. 22, 2020.