- The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, in December has killed more than 10,000 people and infected over 245,000 others. It has spread to at least 163 countries and territories.
- The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11.
- On March 19 a record number of cases — around 27,800 — were reported in a 24-hour period.
- More than 6,500 deaths have been reported outside of mainland China, including 212 in the US.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The novel coronavirus has infected at least 245,484 people and killed at least 10,031 worldwide as of March 19.
The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11, and since then it has spread further and faster than ever. At least 163 countries and territories have reported cases.
Europe is the new epicenter of the disease, which is also infecting increasing numbers of people in the US.
China — where the virus first began to spread in late 2019 — has seen a sharp drop-off in its rate of new cases. On March 19, Italy recorded 3,405 deaths, overtaking China as the country with most coronavirus-related deaths. In China, 3,133 have been reported dead.
More than 86,000 people known to be infected have since recovered, mostly in China.
Many countries have declared nationwide lockdowns and states of emergency to slow the spread of the virus, including the US.
The US, the EU, and many other nations have closed their borders or otherwise dramatically restricted international travel.
Governments worldwide have committed more than $1 trillion to mitigating the economic fallout of the virus and of widespread quarantining, which is expected to bring about a global recession.
The US has reported cases in every state and has confirmed 212 coronavirus deaths. Click here for Business Insider’s live updates about the US outbreaks.
Here’s everything we know.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in 163 countries and territories.
Outside China, cases have been reported in:
China appears to have contained the spread of the coronavirus, but cases are surging in other parts of the world.
March 19 saw the highest number of deaths and the highest number of new cases reported within a 24-hour period since the outbreak began, with around 27,800 found.
Data compiled by the statistics website Worldometer, which uses data from organizations like the United Nations Population Division and World Health Organization, shows that March 19 was the deadliest day so far, with 1,080 new coronavirus deaths reported around the world.
China reported no new domestic cases of the coronavirus on March 19 and March 20 — firsts for the country since the outbreak began.
China has confirmed 228 cases in people who have come in from abroad as of March 20, leading to concerns that the country could face a second wave of virus cases even as it seems to be getting its outbreak under control.
In all, 81,251 people in China have been reported as infected by the coronavirus as of March 20.
The first case of the new coronavirus was reported in Wuhan in December 2019.
The central Chinese city has a population of 11 million.
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.
WHO officials said they were deeply concerned by the “alarming levels of inaction” to combat the coronavirus.
All 50 US states and Washington, DC, have reported coronavirus cases.
The US has confirmed 212 deaths.
As of March 20, more than 14,000 people in the US have been diagnosed by the coronavirus, but the number is likely higher as the country as a relatively low testing level.
China, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, and Spain have implemented the world’s largest and most restrictive mass quarantines.
Countries around the world have been implementing lockdown measures in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, from national quarantines to border closures and school shutdowns.
“Lockdown” isn’t a technical term, but can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines, closures of certain types of businesses, or bans on events and gatherings.
The virus has also prompted travel bans and restrictions all around the world. The Trump administration issued the highest possible travel warning for every country in the world, the European Union is blocking all nonessential inbound travel into its countries, and many nations have shut their borders to non-citizens.
The US State Department issued its highest-level travel advisory for every country on March 19, essentially warning against any travel abroad.
The country had already banned incoming travel from Europe, aside from citizens and their immediate family, and will shut its border with Canada to “non-essential travel.”
This chart shows the rate at which the coronavirus has spread worldwide since it first emerged.
The global fatality rate for the virus is around 3.4%, according to the WHO, but that could change.
The death rate is based on the ratio of reported deaths out of total cases.
A previous study from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found a fatality rate of 2.3%. US health officials have estimated the death rate to be closer to 1%, which is still 10 times higher than that of seasonal flu.
COVID-19’s symptoms can be similar to pneumonia — they include fever and difficulty breathing.
A study from the Chinese CDC found that patients older than 80 had a 15% death rate.
Coronavirus patients with underlying health problems are also more likely to die than otherwise healthy people.
Patients with heart disease had a 10% death rate, according to the same Chinese CDC study. The death rate for patients who reported no preexisting conditions was less than 1%.
The incubation period is thought to be about five days.
A recent study found that the coronavirus’ average incubation period — the time that passes between when a patient gets infected and when their coronavirus test comes back positive — is five days. But in 1% of cases, it may last longer than two weeks.
Many countries have made quarantine policies based on a 14-day incubation, but the evidence is far from conclusive.
But one study found that a patient’s incubation period was 19 days. Another study published early in February analyzed 1,099 coronavirus cases in China and reported that the incubation could be as long as 24 days.
A tour guide in Japan tested positive for the virus a second time last month — evidence that people could get the coronavirus multiple times.
The patient — a woman in her 40s living in Osaka, Japan — first tested positive for the virus on January 29, and recovered.
Nearly two weeks later, she developed throat and chest pains. She tested positive again on February 26.
China has also reported cases of people getting reinfected, though they remain rare.
Few children have gotten sick, but the coronavirus may pose more of a risk to kids than scientists initially thought.
The virus mostly affects adults, but a study of 2,000 children who contracted COVID-19 in China found that children could play a role in spreading the virus and that 6% of infected kids developed severe or critical infections.
The WHO cautioned parents to safeguard their children against the coronavirus.
At least 3,400 Chinese healthcare workers have been infected, and at least 46 have died.
Research published in February found that nearly a third of hospitalized patients studied at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University were healthcare workers.
Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, was hailed as a hero in China after he contracted the virus and died while treating patients. He had warned fellow medical-school alumni about the disease before it was widely understood, for which Chinese authorities punished him.
Tourist attractions around the world have been shuttered.
Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland have all been closed, as has Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Museums, galleries, theatres and major tourist attractions around the world, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, have closed too. Broadway shows in New York City are closing their doors, as is London’s West End.
Japan says it is still committed to hosting the 2020 Olympics.
Japan’s Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, said on March 14 that the country is still planning on going ahead with the games, and with an audience in place.
On March 19, she said that the country was still planning to go ahead.
The pandemic has forced school closures across the world. UNESCO said on March 20 that more than 890 million kids have had their education disrupted.
A running UNESCO tally says that 114 countries have totally shut down their schools as of March 20.
According to UNESCO, the closures have affected just over half of all school children in the world.
Italy has the world’s highest number of coronavirus deaths, and the entire nation is on lockdown.
Italy has had an especially painful outbreak, with 41,035 cases and 3,405 deaths as of March 19. It has now surpassed China, where COVID-19 has killed 3,249 people, as the country with most coronavirus-related deaths.
On March 18, Italy reported the highest single-day death toll of any country since the coronavirus outbreak began: 475 deaths.
The healthcare system is crumbling and medical workers are stretched thin as the number of patients continues to rise.
Home to one of the world’s oldest populations, Italy faces a heightened risk.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte placed the entire nation of 60 million people under quarantine on March 10. The lockdown was intended to last through April 3, but will be prolonged, he told news agencies.
A broad swath of Europe has seen dramatic upticks in caseloads.
Over 100 million people are in lockdown as the coronavirus continues to hit Europe after starting to spread rapidly through the continent in mid-March.
As of March 20, Spain, Germany, and France all had more than 10,000 cases, and have imposed strict lockdown measures on their populations.
Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark have all surpassed 1,000 recorded cases each.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a grim prognosis at the start of a parliamentary meeting on March 10: Between 60% and 70% of the country’s population could contract COVID-19 at some point.
The United Kingdom has reported 2,707 cases and 138 deaths.
Officials in the UK have decided to change the way they’re tackling the coronavirus outbreak after realizing only “in the last few days” that their strategy could lead to the deaths of nearly a quarter million people, according to a report by a team of disease experts who have advised the government on its scientific approach.
The UK is closing schools, and London will close 40 Tube stations.
South Korea’s total cases have reached 8,652.
The country has reported 94 deaths as of March 20.
Health officials say the nation’s outbreak grew after a 61-year-old woman transmitted the virus to fellow members of a fringe religious group, the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
While it still has a high number of cases, South Korea appears to have done a better job at getting the virus under control than most countries, thanks to steps like widespread testing.
A look at the number of new cases that South Korea is reporting each day suggests that the country may have curbed its outbreak, with the figure falling most days.
Iran has reported 18,407 infections and 1,284 deaths.
Senior Iranian officials have contracted the virus and Iran’s Parliament is now closed.
Iran’s official coronavirus case tally puts it among the countries that have been the most affected by COVID-19. Journalists are challenging the country’s infection and death counts, suggesting that the real totals are even higher.
The WHO says Iran’s death toll could be five times as high as what the country is reporting because of limits on testing for the virus.
Satellite images show massive burial trenches that can be seen from space.
The true number of infected people worldwide is likely much higher than the official counts in general. Some people can be asymptomatic (and therefore may not seek out a test), and countries have also had issues producing enough tests.
“There’s another whole cohort that is either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic,” Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a February 6 briefing.
The US is lagging behind other countries when it comes to testing people for the coronavirus.
The White House and CDC have been criticized for their handling of the epidemic so far.
The US and South Korea reported their first coronavirus cases on the same day. In the weeks since, South Korea has tested hundreds of thousands of people, and constructed drive-thru screening spots so that patients could be assessed within 10 minutes.
The CDC initially designed a faulty test for COVID-19, then hit delays in distributing a better one for state and local labs to use, ProPublica reported. That prompted a test-kit shortage that has prevented health officials from gaining a clear understanding of exactly how many Americans have contracted the virus.
President Donald Trump later said he wouldn’t take any responsibility for the significant delay in the country’s coronavirus testing capabilities.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people should wash their hands frequently with soap and water, making sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds.
The WHO, US CDC, and multiple other national health agencies all agree on the importance of handwashing.
People should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Wearing a mask is unlikely to be your best defense, however.
US health officials do not recommend face masks for the general public.
For healthy people, handwashing and avoiding close contact with sick patients is a better way to prevent infection.
Stocking up on face masks can also reduce the supply for medical workers who need them.
At a hearing in late February, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the US needed 300 million N95 masks — which filter out most airborne particles from the surrounding air — to protect healthcare workers during an outbreak. At the time, it had only 30 million, he said.
Some experts think the coronavirus first infected humans at a seafood market in Wuhan. But a recent study suggested the virus could have originated outside the market.
Since most of the early patients had links to one market where live animals were sold, scientists pinpointed it as the likely origin of the virus.
The virus appears to have mutated to allow it to spread to people, when it had previously been limited to animals.
However, a group of Chinese scientists recently published a study suggesting that the virus could have started somewhere else, with the Wuhan market merely boosting the outbreak.
Researchers think the virus originated in bats, then jumped to an intermediary species — most likely pangolins, pigs, or civets — that passed it to people.
Researchers at the South China Agricultural University have suggested that the endangered pangolin may have been the intermediary species between bats and people.
The SARS virus also originated in bats. It jumped to humans from civet cats at a Chinese market that sold live animals. SARS killed 774 people from November 2002 to July 2003.
The viruses that cause the two diseases belong to the same coronavirus family.
The total number of cases and deaths have far surpassed those of the SARS outbreak.
Chinese officials have warned that the virus can mutate.
A study of a Chinese family in the southern province of Guangdong found that the virus mutated several times as it spread from one family member to the next.
But Michael Farzan, a biologist at Scripps Research, told STAT that the mutation rate for the virus was “much, much lower” than that of the flu.
“That lowers the chance that the virus will evolve in some catastrophic way to, say, become significantly more lethal,” Farzan said.
In late January, officials quarantined Wuhan and nearby cities by shutting down all transportation. The restrictions are starting to lift.
All of Wuhan’s public transportation — including buses, metros, and ferries — was halted January 23. Trains and airplanes coming into and out of the city were also shut down, and roadblocks were installed to keep taxis and private cars from exiting.
Wuhan’s 11 million residents were told not to leave the city, barring special circumstances.
China also imposed travel restrictions on other parts of the country. A CNN analysis in February found that more than 780 million people in China — more than half the population — were under some sort of travel restriction.
But some restrictions are starting to lift as the number of new cases in China falls.
The virus is wreaking havoc on the economy.
The virus has shuttered businesses, halted global supply chains, and already severely harmed the travel industry and other industries.
It could create 20% unemployment in the US, officials have warned. Both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 had their biggest one-day falls since 1987 on March 17.
Governments around the world are announcing billions in stimulus packages and state support.
There are no vaccines to prevent humans from contracting the virus, but multiple drugmakers are racing to develop one.
A wide range of companies, including behemoths like Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi as well as smaller biotech companies and academic research labs, are conducting research.
Some are developing vaccines from scratch, while others are testing existing drugs. At least seven vaccines are likely to enter the human testing stage by the end of 2020.
Rosie Perper, Aylin Woodward, Kieran Corcoran, and Ali Millington contributed to this report.