The Spread of COVID-19 in 2020: A Timeline

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Upon the first human identification of the COVID-19 virus in Wuhan, China, the virus has continued to cause havoc among the human race. Since December 2019, millions have died due to Coronavirus complications. 

The global pandemic started spreading to other countries in January 2020. Now its effect is felt in all continents, pushing hospital systems to a brink even in the most advanced countries and dragging countries’ economies into a standstill.

According to Chinese officials, only 266 people had been infected with the novel coronavirus by the end of 2019. However, within months the virus had spread to the whole of China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam, France, Nepal, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Cambodia, Germany, Sri Lanka, Finland, United Arab Emirates, India, Italy, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom. 

The first coronavirus death was reported in China on January 9th in Wuhan Hospital. On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a public health emergency after the death toll rose to 171, and more than 8,200 infections were reported.

In February, hundreds of people were infected on Prince Cruises, a passenger cruise carrying more than 3,700 people. The passengers and crew went to a compulsory two-week quarantine. On February 11th, the death toll rose to 1,114, and WHO named the virus COVID-19. The first case in Latin America occurred on February 26th.

By March 1st, the COVID 19 death toll had risen to 2,996. New York City started reporting an increased growth of infections after a woman traveled from Iran tested positive. Implementation of drastic actions to control the spread in New York occurred, including the non-essential workforce’s restriction. Italy extended its national lockdown on March 9th. On March 11th, the United States suspended any travel to Europe as Europe became a new pandemic epicenter. France went ahead to issue the stay-at-home order from March 16th. By March 26th, the United States had surpassed China and Italy in the number of new infections, becoming the world’s largest outbreak. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, tested positive on March 27th. 

On April 2nd, the world infection reached 1 million, with 56,101 deaths. Africa also started reporting its first cases of the disease, with Algeria recording 900+ conditions. By the end of April, New York was reporting more cases of COVID 19 than any other country outside the United States.

Cases in Eastern Europe, including Russia, started to increase in May. Russia surpassed France and Germany, becoming the fifth world most-infected. The world had 247,205 reported deaths by May 2nd. By the end, some European countries, like the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Italy, started easing lockdown restrictions.

In June, the Death toll had risen to 392,879. Cases in Africa were also growing, with more than 200,000 reported cases of new infections. Africa had more than 5,600 deaths, mostly in Algeria, Sudan, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria.

The month of July and August saw an upsurge of infection cases globally. Death tolls also rose as universities tried to re-open in the United States. In September, the infection cases started growing in Europe, especially in Spain, Russia, France, and Ukraine. The United Kingdom Prime Minister added more restrictions by the end of September. By the end of September, the world had recorded more than 1 million fatalities.

In October, the global cases were still rising. The infections rose past 45 million. The United Kingdom had more than 1 million infections. The number of infections was also increasing in Africa, although some authorities denied it.

By November, the most affected countries were the United States, India, France, Russia, Spain, Argentina, United Kingdom, Colombia, and Italy with 10,257,825, 8,636,011, 5,699,005, 1,857,309, 1,822,345, 1,381218, 1,262,476, 1,237,198, 1,155,356, and 995,463 respectively. The global reported cases of COVID 19 as per November 11 had reached more than 51 million infections.

How has Coronavirus testing improved?

There are two different ways of testing for the coronavirus: an antibody test and a diagnostic test. The diagnostic test is through molecular tests like RT-PCR or through antigen tests, where you detect proteins from the virus. The antibody test involves the identification of antibodies created by your immune system to help fight the virus.

Testing COVID 19 has recently improved to the extent that it’s now possible to buy a coronavirus test kit and take the test at home. If you test positive, you need to quarantine yourself to avoid infecting others. COVID 19 positive people may either be symptomatic or asymptomatic.

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