It's been several months since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, so it's only natural to wonder how much longer we'll need to take measures to reduce the spread. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, cases of COVID-19 are surging instead of improving, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over . . . Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a recent press briefing. The virus, first identified in late 2019, was formally designated a pandemic on March 11, and attempts to alleviate it around the world have been met with mixed results.
A detailed tracker from Johns Hopkins University reveals the scope and hotspots of the pandemic. As of this writing, global cases have topped 10.5 million, with more than 512,000 deaths so far. The United States holds the unfortunate distinction of having the most cases (2.6 million and counting) and the most deaths (more than 127,000), accounting for around 25 percent of global cases and deaths from the virus, despite having a relatively small share of the world's population. Brazil, Russia, India, and the United Kingdom round out the top five in terms of overall cases, while Brazil, the UK, Italy, and France have had the most deaths after the US.
The biggest problem, according to Tedros, is an inconsistent approach and an unwillingness to enforce best practices, such as mask wearing and social distancing, that are intended to slow the spread. "The lack of national unity and lack of global solidarity and the divided world . . . is actually helping the virus to spread. The worst is yet to come," he said. "I'm sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and conditions we fear the worst."
As impatient as everyone may be to get back to "normal" — whether that means going to the gym, eating out at restaurants, or traveling internationally — it's becoming more and more clear that we'll all need to make sacrifices for the greater good.
POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.