October 19, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus has zoonotic origin and the first known case of the disease dates back to December 2019 in Wuhan, China. On January 20, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the outbreak as an International Public Health Emergency and, on March 11, 2020, as a pandemic. As of October 19, 2021, 241 113 527 cases were confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with 4 905 124 deaths attributed to the disease, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history. The symptoms of COVID-19 are highly variable, ranging from none to life-threatening illnesses. The virus mainly spreads through the air when people are close to each other. It makes a person infected when they breathe, cough, sneeze or speak and enter another person through their mouth, nose or eyes. It can also spread through contaminated surfaces. People remain contagious for up to two weeks and can spread the virus even if they are asymptomatic. Recommended preventive measures include social distancing, wearing face masks in public, ventilation and air filtration, hand washing, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing , surface disinfection and monitoring and self-isolation for exposed or symptomatic people. Several vaccines are being developed and distributed around the world. Current treatments focus on symptoms as therapeutic drugs that inhibit the virus are developed. Authorities around the world have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace controls and facility closures. Many places have also worked to increase the ability to test and track the contacts of those infected. The pandemic has resulted in significant global social and economic instability, including the biggest global recession since the Great Depression. This has led to a widespread shortage of supplies exacerbated by the rush to buy, agricultural disruption and food shortages, as well as reduced emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Many educational institutions and public areas were partially or completely closed, and many events were canceled or postponed. Disinformation circulated on social media and mass media. The pandemic raised issues of racial and geographic discrimination, health equity, and the balance between public health imperatives and individual rights.