As of April 29, over 1 million people in the United States have been infected by Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. That's one-third of all global infections, about five times the infections recorded in Spain and Italy, the countries with the next highest figures, and 12 times the cases recorded in China, a country with 1.1 billion more people than the US.
At time of writing, the latest figures – from the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 Dashboard, which collates data from multiple sources for the most up-to-date figures – shows 1,014,568 positive cases out of 5.8 million people tested in the US. Evidence collected on the pandemic over the last few months shows a large variation in severity of symptoms, with many people not showing any symptoms at all, which, combined with the scarcity of tests in the US, suggests the actual number of cases is much higher than that.
The US, which is currently the epicenter of the pandemic, is also leading globally in the number of deaths, too. Around the world, 218,795 people have died as a result of Covid-19. In the US, 59,438 deaths have been reported so far. To give this number some context, it's higher than the total US military casualties in the Vietnam war (58,220) or World War I (53,402). Covid-19 has caused more deaths than the casualties of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, the Korean War, 9/11, the War in Iraq, and the War in Afghanistan combined (55,588).
Due to widespread lockdown policies currently in place for one-third of the world, the number of infections and deaths seems to be leveling. While the daily rate remains variable, for the US, the record number of deaths in a day was on April 21, with 2,683 people losing their lives to the disease.
According to Worldmeter, 1,969,338 patients globally are currently infected (active cases) with 3 percent in either serious or critical condition. Given that there is no known cure for the disease, recovery is a slow process, but 976,071 people have recovered.
Some countries, like New Zealand, where community transmission of Covid-19 appears to have stopped, are planning to ease lockdown measures and re-open some non-essential businesses, schools, and health services. New Zealand has been hailed as a model for the strict measures taken very early on when only a handful of cases had been reported. With a population of 4.8 million, it has recorded 19 Covid-19 deaths.
It's important not to lift lockdown measures too soon in countries where the infection is still spreading, however, for fear of a second wave. The World Health Organisation recently outlined six criteria that should be reached before a country considers easing lockdown measures, to help prevent this.
[H/T: National Geographic/BBC News]