In the months since an outbreak of the novel coronavirus first surfaced in China late last year, millions of people have been infected, with cases reported in almost every country in the world.
Hundreds of thousands of people are confirmed to have died of covid-19, the disease the virus causes, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In many places, testing remains limited, and the true case and death counts are probably far higher than the confirmed tally.
“It took more than two months for the first 100,000 cases to be reported,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization, said in June. “For the past two weeks, more than 100,000 new cases have been reported almost every single day.”
Many countries turned to drastic containment measures to try to curb the spread of the virus. While some countries saw success in flattening the curve, or in the case of New Zealand, driving confirmed infections down to zero for a time, others faced rising case numbers as global hot spots shifted.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first reported last year, and parts of Europe once overwhelmed by the virus have largely begun to reopen and report far fewer cases and deaths.
In the United States, where testing efforts faltered early in the outbreak, cases and deaths are slowing in some states but rising in others. The total number of U.S. reported cases remains by far the highest in the world. Brazil, where cases surged as government leaders disagreed over the severity of the crisis and resisted lockdown measures, now ranks second for the largest number of cases and deaths. Russia, which ranks third for the highest number of confirmed cases, is also struggling to contain a massive outbreak although its official death toll remains far lower than those of other hot spots.
In May, the World Health Organization declared South America the new epicenter of the global pandemic.
In the early months of the outbreak, China reported more cases than any other country. Its tally of new infections peaked in mid-February and approached zero by mid-March, although questions surround the accuracy of its data.
As the disease waned in China, it began to surge in Italy and Spain. By May, more than 150,000 people had died throughout Europe. This month, a cluster of cases in Beijing linked to a large market has raised alarm over another major outbreak in the country.
While the virus appears to have plateaued or declined in much of Europe, countries in South America, South Asia and the Middle East have reported increases in case numbers.
Meanwhile, many countries — including China, given the new cases in Beijing — fear the onslaught of a looming second wave of infections.
Lauren Tierney, Joe Fox, Tim Meko, Chris Alcantara, John Muyskens, Shelly Tan, Adrián Blanco, Armand Emamdjomeh, Youjin Shin, Monica Ulmanu, Harry Stevens, Kevin Schaul, Bonnie Berkowitz and Siobhán O’Grady contributed to this report.
How to prepare for the coronavirus in the U.S.
How the coronavirus tanked the markets
Millions of tweets peddled conspiracy theories about coronavirus in other countries, an unpublished U.S. report says
Coronavirus came from bats or possibly pangolins amid ‘acceleration’ of new zoonotic infections
An earlier version of this graphic included Hong Kong cases that were being monitored.
About this story
Originally published Jan. 22, 2020.