The global tally of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection – a pneumonia-like respiratory illness that has spread rapidly ever since it first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019 – is nearing the 1,000,000-mark. When this article was last updated, there were almost 963,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world.
Even though the majority of the cases had originated in mainland China, at present it is the United States, Italy, and Spain which have registered the largest number of confirmed cases. Germany, France, Iran, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland are some of the other countries witnessing a frightening COVID-19 surge. Experts, meanwhile, believe that the actual number of 2019-nCoV cases could be likely much higher than that reported because many patients have been discovered to be asymptomatic, while most countries continue to struggle with insufficient testing provisions.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. In an effort to contain the outbreak, most nations have shut down schools, cinema halls, and public attractions, apart from imposing bans on both international and domestic travel. Mass quarantines and nationwide lockdown are also being implemented by several countries across the globe.
With a global mortality rate of 3.4%, COVID-19 is exponentially more dangerous than the seasonal flu which kills only about 0.1 percent of those infected. The death toll from the potentially deadly virus had crossed 49,000 on the last count, with almost 203,000 people making recoveries.
In response to this ongoing public health emergency, researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Maryland, US, created an online dashboard in January 2020 to track the spread of the virus across the globe. You can bookmark this map to see live coronavirus updates.
The interactive map, which tracks the Coronavirus pandemic in near real-time, collects suspected and confirmed case data from multiple government sources. “The dashboard is intended to provide the public with an understanding of the outbreak situation as it unfolds, with transparent data sources,” says Lauren Gardner, a civil engineering professor at JHU, who led the team that produced the map.
How coronavirus spreads
Health officials have determined that this novel strain of the coronavirus respiratory illness capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects. About one-fifth of all patients have been observed to become severely ill, ultimately leading to pneumonia and respiratory failure. Since symptoms take some time to show, health officials are also concerned that people with mild (or asymptomatic) symptoms may not be seeking medical care, and hence, all the cases are not being reported.