Coronavirus (COVID-19): What We Know So Far

In December 2019, Chinese health authorities reported cases of acute respiratory illnesses caused by a novel coronavirus never before seen in humans in Wuhan, a city in Hubei, China. The disease, now referred to as COVID-19, has rapidly spread across the globe, prompting the World Health Organization to declare it a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Three months into the outbreak, we probe into what we know so far.

Are Coronavirus, COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 Different?

Coronavirus is the blanket term encompassing a large family of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans.

SARS-CoV-2, short for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2, is the name of the 2019 strain of coronavirus, while COVID-19, refers to the disease that the virus causes. Bats are natural hosts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but as they typically do not directly transmit to humans, the current belief is bats may have passed the virus on to other animals who then somehow spread it to humans. 

Before the COVID-19, two other coronavirus diseases have caused global outbreaks. The first was the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) originating from China in 2002, believed to have been transmitted from civet cats to humans. The second is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) emerging from Saudi Arabia in 2012, thought to have been transferred from camels to humans.

Read also the articles about differences between COVID-19 and SARS and COVID-19 vs Flu for more information.

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) identifies the three most common symptoms of COVID-19 as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The degree of respiratory illness varies from mild to severe, depending on the affected person's underlying health conditions. The CDC also notes that symptoms may appear anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that some of those infected may have aches and pains, runny nose, diarrhea, sore throat, nasal congestion, and dry cough. In contrast, some may not have any symptoms at all.

How is it Transmitted Between Humans?

When a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales, they can release small droplets from their mouth or nose, which then lands onto any surface around them. The virus spreads when other people make contact with these surfaces, and then end up touching their mouth, eyes, or nose. The new coronavirus can also be acquired by a person who breathes in droplets that are coughed out or exhaled by an infected person. For this reason, adhering to social or physical distancing (staying 1 meter or 3 feet away from a person) is encouraged worldwide, to avoid further spread of the disease.

Are There Other Potential Modes of Transmission for COVID-19?

Gastroenterologists from China and Singapore have published studies suggesting the fecal-oral route may be another method of transmission for the SARS-CoV-2. Although the WHO does not entirely dismiss this theory, the evidence available is not substantial enough to warrant their formal recognition.

On the other hand, reports have emerged of a Chinese official claiming that aerosol transmission (droplets spreading through surrounding air) may spread coronavirus. However, an Australian infectious disease specialist quickly dismissed this, stating the lack of experimental evidence supporting the claim. The WHO also highlights that droplets are too heavy to remain in the air, thus debunking the airborne transmission theory.

What is the Treatment for COVID-19?

Contrary to numerous claims of western and traditional treatments for COVID-19 circulating around various media platforms, there is no treatment to date for the new coronavirus strain. People infected are given supportive care for the relief of their symptoms.

Prevention remains the best defense against coronavirus. Frequent handwashing, covering your mouth with your elbow when you cough, and practicing social distancing are simple yet effective ways of protecting yourself and others against the virus.

Trials and Experiments to Beat the Pandemic.

A recent report suggests that at least 35 companies and academic bodies across the globe are racing towards developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. 

In mid-March this year, the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, USA, pioneered human trials of their potential vaccine. The 45 volunteers for the trial were to receive two injections 28 days apart to determine the vaccine's safety.

On 02 April 2020, the Australian national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), began testing two vaccine candidates for COVID-19 on animal subjects to check for efficacy as well as to determine the best route of administration. They are expecting the trial to run for three months and remain optimistic about the results.

What are the Numbers so Far?

Data from John Hopkins University reveal that there are 117,045,316 confirmed cases worldwide, with a death toll of 2,597,052, and a relatively higher recovery rate. However, a lot of countries stopped reporting on recovered data since medical teams don’t have enough time to follow up with each patient.

The United States, with epicenter in New York, has now become a top country by the most number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Below is an overview of the COVID-19 cases so far.

Real-Time Coronavirus Pandemic Stats Video

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Top Countries by Most Number of Confirmed Cases

CountryConfirmed casesDeaths
US29,021,686525,399
India11,229,398157,853
Brazil11,019,344265,411
Russia4,284,40887,985
United Kingdom4,235,878124,801
France3,969,58089,089
Spain3,160,97071,436
Italy3,081,368100,103
Turkey2,793,63229,094
Germany2,513,68872,053
Colombia2,276,65660,503
Argentina2,149,63652,880
Mexico2,128,600190,604
Poland1,801,08345,317
Iran1,698,00560,786
South Africa1,521,06850,678
Ukraine1,455,42128,616
Indonesia1,386,55637,547
Peru1,371,17647,854
Czechia1,325,29121,882
Netherlands1,139,09215,990
Canada893,67122,249
Chile860,52121,163
Romania830,56320,963
Portugal810,45916,565
Israel804,5915,915
Belgium787,89122,261
Iraq731,01613,596
Sweden684,96113,003
Philippines597,76312,521
Pakistan592,10013,227
Switzerland565,03410,052
Bangladesh551,1758,476
Serbia489,5304,579
Morocco486,3258,683
Austria476,9808,732
Hungary468,71315,988
Japan439,9418,300
Jordan435,1304,987
United Arab Emirates413,3321,335
Lebanon397,8875,089
Saudi Arabia380,1826,534
Panama344,8345,923
Slovakia323,7867,921
Malaysia314,9891,177
Belarus296,4412,047
Ecuador294,50316,039
Nepal274,8103,011
Georgia272,9983,591
Kazakhstan268,3273,184
Bulgaria260,30810,614
Bolivia254,27311,823
Croatia246,5145,590
Dominican Republic243,5263,179
Tunisia237,7048,201
Azerbaijan236,9633,247
Ireland223,6514,422
Denmark215,9552,382
Costa Rica206,6402,833
Greece206,2816,797
Lithuania202,4303,336
Kuwait201,8981,133
West Bank and Gaza198,5542,157
Slovenia195,6783,897
Moldova195,6024,129
Egypt186,50310,995
Guatemala178,5606,473
Armenia175,0163,225
Honduras173,7294,260
Paraguay168,0433,318
Qatar167,417263
Ethiopia166,1382,429
Nigeria158,5061,969
Oman144,4041,594
Venezuela142,3381,384
Burma142,0453,200
Libya139,6582,288
Bosnia and Herzegovina137,2915,297
Bahrain126,602472
Algeria114,2343,013
Albania113,5801,956
Kenya109,1641,879
North Macedonia107,1633,195
China101,1414,838
Korea, South92,8171,642
Latvia90,5251,699
Kyrgyzstan86,5831,473
Ghana86,465647
Sri Lanka85,695502
Zambia82,6551,132
Uzbekistan80,219622
Montenegro80,1911,085
Estonia76,183667
Norway75,304632
Kosovo73,7351,655
Uruguay63,837651
Finland62,522774
Mozambique62,520693
El Salvador60,8001,915
Singapore60,04629
Luxembourg56,677663
Cuba56,566350
Afghanistan55,8762,451
Uganda40,479334
Namibia40,187439
Cyprus36,878233
Zimbabwe36,2711,485
Senegal35,959925
Cameroon35,714551
Cote d'Ivoire35,187202
Malawi32,4421,069
Botswana31,746359
Sudan30,5401,895
Australia29,046909
Jamaica26,904454
Congo (Kinshasa)26,627712
Thailand26,44185
Malta24,599334
Angola21,086514
Maldives20,79464
Madagascar20,155300
Rwanda19,551268
Mauritania17,322442
Eswatini17,184658
Guinea16,67095
Gabon16,01591
Syria15,9811,063
Cabo Verde15,782154
Tajikistan13,30890
Haiti12,536251
Belize12,335315
Burkina Faso12,181143
Andorra11,042112
Lesotho10,523307
Congo (Brazzaville)9,179131
Suriname8,977175
Guyana8,807201
South Sudan8,766102
Bahamas8,600181
Mali8,580358
Somalia8,438307
Trinidad and Tobago7,736139
Togo7,57092
Nicaragua6,489174
Equatorial Guinea6,37196
Benin6,33881
Djibouti6,15763
Iceland6,06429
Central African Republic5,02163
Niger4,822177
Gambia4,759152
Chad4,177140
San Marino3,92276
Sierra Leone3,92079
Saint Lucia3,86643
Comoros3,596146
Mongolia3,3362
Guinea-Bissau3,31249
Barbados3,28537
Seychelles2,97915
Eritrea2,9447
Liechtenstein2,59254
Yemen2,545653
Vietnam2,52435
New Zealand2,40526
Burundi2,3193
Monaco2,02826
Liberia2,02485
Sao Tome and Principe1,95032
Papua New Guinea1,67016
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1,6638
Cambodia1,0110
Taiwan*97610
Bhutan8681
Antigua and Barbuda84821
Diamond Princess71213
Mauritius64110
Tanzania50921
Brunei1903
Grenada1481
Dominica1440
Timor-Leste1220
Fiji662
Laos470
Saint Kitts and Nevis410
Holy See270
Solomon Islands180
MS Zaandam92
Marshall Islands40
Samoa30
Vanuatu10
Micronesia10
Global117,045,3162,597,052

Coronavirus Mortality (COVID 19): Top Countries by Most Number of Deaths

CountryConfirmed casesDeaths
US29,021,686525,399
Brazil11,019,344265,411
Mexico2,128,600190,604
India11,229,398157,853
United Kingdom4,235,878124,801
Italy3,081,368100,103
France3,969,58089,089
Russia4,284,40887,985
Germany2,513,68872,053
Spain3,160,97071,436
Iran1,698,00560,786
Colombia2,276,65660,503
Argentina2,149,63652,880
South Africa1,521,06850,678
Peru1,371,17647,854
Poland1,801,08345,317
Indonesia1,386,55637,547
Turkey2,793,63229,094
Ukraine1,455,42128,616
Belgium787,89122,261
Canada893,67122,249
Czechia1,325,29121,882
Chile860,52121,163
Romania830,56320,963
Portugal810,45916,565
Ecuador294,50316,039
Netherlands1,139,09215,990
Hungary468,71315,988
Iraq731,01613,596
Pakistan592,10013,227
Sweden684,96113,003
Philippines597,76312,521
Bolivia254,27311,823
Egypt186,50310,995
Bulgaria260,30810,614
Switzerland565,03410,052
Austria476,9808,732
Morocco486,3258,683
Bangladesh551,1758,476
Japan439,9418,300
Tunisia237,7048,201
Slovakia323,7867,921
Greece206,2816,797
Saudi Arabia380,1826,534
Guatemala178,5606,473
Panama344,8345,923
Israel804,5915,915
Croatia246,5145,590
Bosnia and Herzegovina137,2915,297
Lebanon397,8875,089
Jordan435,1304,987
China101,1414,838
Serbia489,5304,579
Ireland223,6514,422
Honduras173,7294,260
Moldova195,6024,129
Slovenia195,6783,897
Georgia272,9983,591
Lithuania202,4303,336
Paraguay168,0433,318
Azerbaijan236,9633,247
Armenia175,0163,225
Burma142,0453,200
North Macedonia107,1633,195
Kazakhstan268,3273,184
Dominican Republic243,5263,179
Algeria114,2343,013
Nepal274,8103,011
Costa Rica206,6402,833
Afghanistan55,8762,451
Ethiopia166,1382,429
Denmark215,9552,382
Libya139,6582,288
West Bank and Gaza198,5542,157
Belarus296,4412,047
Nigeria158,5061,969
Albania113,5801,956
El Salvador60,8001,915
Sudan30,5401,895
Kenya109,1641,879
Latvia90,5251,699
Kosovo73,7351,655
Korea, South92,8171,642
Oman144,4041,594
Zimbabwe36,2711,485
Kyrgyzstan86,5831,473
Venezuela142,3381,384
United Arab Emirates413,3321,335
Malaysia314,9891,177
Kuwait201,8981,133
Zambia82,6551,132
Montenegro80,1911,085
Malawi32,4421,069
Syria15,9811,063
Senegal35,959925
Australia29,046909
Finland62,522774
Congo (Kinshasa)26,627712
Mozambique62,520693
Estonia76,183667
Luxembourg56,677663
Eswatini17,184658
Yemen2,545653
Uruguay63,837651
Ghana86,465647
Norway75,304632
Uzbekistan80,219622
Cameroon35,714551
Angola21,086514
Sri Lanka85,695502
Bahrain126,602472
Jamaica26,904454
Mauritania17,322442
Namibia40,187439
Botswana31,746359
Mali8,580358
Cuba56,566350
Malta24,599334
Uganda40,479334
Belize12,335315
Somalia8,438307
Lesotho10,523307
Madagascar20,155300
Rwanda19,551268
Qatar167,417263
Haiti12,536251
Cyprus36,878233
Cote d'Ivoire35,187202
Guyana8,807201
Bahamas8,600181
Niger4,822177
Suriname8,977175
Nicaragua6,489174
Cabo Verde15,782154
Gambia4,759152
Comoros3,596146
Burkina Faso12,181143
Chad4,177140
Trinidad and Tobago7,736139
Congo (Brazzaville)9,179131
Andorra11,042112
South Sudan8,766102
Equatorial Guinea6,37196
Guinea16,67095
Togo7,57092
Gabon16,01591
Tajikistan13,30890
Thailand26,44185
Liberia2,02485
Benin6,33881
Sierra Leone3,92079
San Marino3,92276
Maldives20,79464
Djibouti6,15763
Central African Republic5,02163
Liechtenstein2,59254
Guinea-Bissau3,31249
Saint Lucia3,86643
Barbados3,28537
Vietnam2,52435
Sao Tome and Principe1,95032
Iceland6,06429
Singapore60,04629
Monaco2,02826
New Zealand2,40526
Antigua and Barbuda84821
Tanzania50921
Papua New Guinea1,67016
Seychelles2,97915
Diamond Princess71213
Mauritius64110
Taiwan*97610
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1,6638
Eritrea2,9447
Burundi2,3193
Brunei1903
MS Zaandam92
Fiji662
Mongolia3,3362
Grenada1481
Bhutan8681
Saint Kitts and Nevis410
Holy See270
Samoa30
Vanuatu10
Timor-Leste1220
Solomon Islands180
Laos470
Dominica1440
Micronesia10
Cambodia1,0110
Marshall Islands40
Global117,045,3162,597,052

About Coronavirus (COVID-19) Data 

The data is provided from Johns Hopkins University via M Media API, NovelCOVID API and some other sources mentioned in this article. It's updated on average every hour (from Johns Hopkins University), however, it may be out of date and not accurate because it changes rapidly. This data doesn’t include all cases, because it includes only people who tested positive. You may also check information about reported cases on the WHO website.

Where do I Find Reliable COVID-19 Information?

Head on to these resources for further authoritative information regarding COVID-19:

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused a lot of uncertainty for people worldwide. So far, we know that this is a never-before-seen strain in humans. There is no available treatment yet, but efforts are underway to develop vaccines and medications. For now, practicing proper hygiene and physical distancing is key to slowing the rapid spread of this disease.

Being well-informed is also essential during these unprecedented times. Remember to protect yourself from unnecessary confusion or anxiety caused by misinformation. Stick to factual information from trusted sources.

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Image Courtesy:

  • Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Author & Researcher @ Difference 101 Master in Philosophy & Data Analysis, Sorbonne Université (Graduated 2011) Lived in New York City

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