It started as a seemingly perplexing case of pneumonia.
From a wet market in Wuhan, China, COVID-19 has spread to nearly every country on the globe in just under nine months. It’s overturned daily lives, shuttered businesses and schools, and disrupted the world economy. It’s infected more than 33 million people worldwide and has killed at least 1 million people — a toll that’s likely to be far more than the official tallies show, global health officials say.
The coronavirus has laid bare public health shortcomings in even the most advanced countries on the planet that, up until 2020, hadn’t witnessed a pandemic for more than 100 years. In the U.S., COVID-19 has tested hospital systems and their capacity to treat severely ill patients and has pushed drug companies to try to develop vaccines and therapeutics in record time.