Coronary Virus Statistics
The name of the disease and the virus
Diseases and the viruses or bacteria that cause them often have different names. For instance, the “human immunodeficiency virus”, HIV, causes “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome”, AIDS.
The virus causing the current outbreak is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, shortened to SARS-CoV-2. The disease is called coronavirus disease, shortened to COVID-19.
These names have been assigned by the World Health Organization and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.22
The WHO also refers to the virus as “the virus responsible for COVID-19” or “the COVID-19 virus” when communicating with the public. We follow the same conventions here.
How did the outbreak start?
The outbreak was first noticed in the city of Wuhan, China. Wuhan is the capital of the Hubei Province and has about 11 million inhabitants. On 29 December 2019, Chinese authorities identified a cluster of similar cases of pneumonia in the city.
These cases were soon determined to be caused by a novel coronavirus that was later named SARS-CoV-2.23
On January 23rd the city of Wuhan and other cities in the region were placed on lockdown by the Chinese Government.
Since then COVID-19 has spread to many more countries – cases have been reported in all world regions. By March it developed into a global pandemic and was declared as such by the WHO.
What is a coronavirus?
Although people often refer to the virus causing COVID-19 as “the coronavirus”, there are many different coronaviruses.
The term refers to a group of viruses that are common in humans: coronaviruses are the cause for around 30% of cases of the common cold.24 Corona is Latin for “crown” – this group of viruses is given its name due to the fact that its surface looks like a crown under an electron microscope.
While all the countries on this tracker are united behind a common goal – stamping out COVID-19 as soon as possible – each country has its own approach and unique challenges when it comes to keeping their population safe. Of course, countries that are just beginning to experience exponential growth in case numbers have the benefit of learning from mistakes made elsewhere, and adopting ideas that are proving successful at slowing the rate of infection.
Many jurisdictions are implementing some or all of these measures to help flatten the curve:
- Encouraging social distancing
- Encouraging working from home
- Closing schools and other institutions
- Placing hard limits on the size of crowds at events.