- The coronavirus has killed over 24,000 people and infected more than 532,000 around the world. It has sickened people in at least 176 countries and territories.
- The US surpassed China as the world’s largest outbreak on March 26.
- New York has more than 39,000 cases, over 7% of the world’s total.
- A third of the world is now under some form of lockdown.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The novel coronavirus has infected 532,788 people and killed 24,077 worldwide.
Europe and the Americas are seeing the vast majority of new cases. The US has the world’s highest case total since it surpassed China and Italy on March 26.
New York has the largest number of coronavirus cases of any US state — more than 39,000, which accounts for more than 7% of the world’s coronavirus cases.
In total, at least 176 countries and territories have reported cases. Many have declared nationwide lockdowns or otherwise dramatically restricted travel. This has left hundreds of millions of people under unprecedented restrictions: a third of the world is now under some form of lockdown.
A dozen Business Insider staffers are keeping this post updated with the most recent developments around the clock. US-specific live updates can be found here.
Here’s the latest.
Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in 176 countries and territories.
China appears to have contained the spread of the coronavirus, but cases are surging in other parts of the world.
China — where the virus first began to spread in late 2019 — has seen a sharp drop-off in its rate of new cases.
Italy has recorded more than 8,210 deaths, and Spain more than 4,360, both overtaking China’s death toll. In China, 3,291 people have died.
Over 122,600 people known to be infected have recovered, mostly in China.
The number of deaths and cases is still surging worldwide. Some 2,791 people died from the coronavirus on March 26, the highest number since the outbreak began.
Data compiled by the statistics website Worldometer, which uses information from organizations like the United Nations Population Division and World Health Organization, shows that March 26 was the deadliest day so far: 2,791 deaths were reported.
This makes March 26 the tenth record-breaking day in a row for daily deaths.
The virus is wreaking havoc on the global economy, and governments around the world are announcing massive stimulus packages.
On March 26, the US Labor Department reported that a record 3.28 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits last week. The US could see 20% unemployment, officials warned, and UBS has warned of an “inevitable” recession in Europe as well.
The US Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the ”CARES Act” — by a 96-0 vote on March 25. It will go to the House of Representatives, then to President Donald Trump’s desk.
Modeling from The Australian National University has estimated a global GDP loss of $2.4 trillion in the best-case scenario.
India put its 1.3 billion residents under a 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 24. That means a third of the world’s population is now under some sort of restriction.
“There will be a total ban of coming out of your homes,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“Lockdown” isn’t a technical term, but can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines, closures of certain types of businesses, or bans on events and gatherings.
Countries like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Poland, New Zealand, Malaysia, and El Salvador are under some sort of restrictions, ranging from bans on large gatherings to people not being allowed out of their homes. South Africa, which has around 59 million residents, also went into a 21-day lockdown on March 26.
China is reporting very few (if any) new domestic cases, but imported cases from people traveling into the country pose a threat.
Almost all new cases there are coming from people traveling from abroad, including Chinese students returning home.
In all, nearly 82,000 people in China have been infected by the coronavirus.
This chart shows the rate at which the coronavirus has spread worldwide since it first emerged.
Italy has the world’s highest number of coronavirus deaths — more than double those in China — and the entire nation is on lockdown.
Italy has reported 80,589 cases and 8,215 deaths. Its death toll is now more than double that of China. The country set the record for the highest single-day coronavirus death toll March 21, with 793 deaths.
The healthcare system in Italy, which is home to one of the world’s oldest populations, has been overwhelmed, with medical workers stretched thin.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte placed the entire nation of 60 million people under quarantine on March 10. He has since made that stricter, forbidding all travel inside the country.
All 50 US states and Washington, DC, have reported coronavirus cases. Infections have also been confirmed in the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
On March 24, the WHO warned that the US could become the new epicenter as cases jump.
A WHO spokeswoman, Margaret Harris, noted that there had been a “very large acceleration” in cases in the US in recent days.
Just two days later, the US case total surpassed that of China, making it the world’s largest outbreak.
New York state has been hit the hardest, with 457 deaths so far. At least 365 of those deaths occurred in New York City.
The US surpassed China as the world’s largest outbreak on March 26, reporting more than 83,800 cases and 1,209 deaths.
The real count is likely higher since the country has lagged behind other nations when it comes to testing. The number is likely to spike as the US’s testing capacity keeps expanding.
New York state has reported more than 7% of the coronavirus cases in the world.
Spain’s caseload is the fourth-highest in the world, and it has the second-highest number of deaths.
On March 26, Spain’s COVID-19 cases spiked to 57,786, and 4,365 deaths were reported. Its death toll overtook China’s on March 25.
In Madrid, a conference center has been transformed into a field hospital, while an ice rink is now a makeshift morgue, El País reported.
Soldiers deployed to disinfect care homes around the country found elderly residents “completely abandoned,” with some dead in their beds, according to Spain’s defense minister.
France has more than 29,560 cases, while the caseload in Germany is nearly 44,000.
The two countries’ leaders have imposed strict lockdown measures.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a grim prognosis at the start of a parliamentary meeting on March 10: Between 60% and 70% of the country’s population could contract COVID-19 at some point.
Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and Denmark have also reported more than 1,000 cases each.
The United Kingdom has reported 11,812 cases and 580 deaths. It is now under strict lockdown.
Officials in the UK initially did not encourage people to stay far apart, but they changed the plan after a report by a team of disease experts said nearly a quarter-million people could die.
On March 23, the UK went into full lockdown, with the public barred from leaving home for non-essential reasons and allowed just one walk a day. Here are the rules of the UK lockdown.
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the virus and is self-isolating.
A Clarence House spokesperson confirmed to Insider on March 25 that the Prince of Wales tested positive, saying that the prince is displaying “mild symptoms” an “remains in good health.” His wife, Camilla, tested negative. Both are self-isolating.
Other well-known figures who have contracted the virus include actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson; Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; actor Idris Elba; NBA star Kevin Durant; and Kristofer Hivju of “Game of Thrones” fame.
South Korea’s total cases have reached 9,332, but the country has been reporting fewer cases each day thanks to steps like widespread testing.
The country has reported 139 deaths as of March 26.
Health officials say the nation’s outbreak grew after a 61-year-old woman transmitted the virus to fellow members of a fringe religious group, the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus.
But the number of new cases South Korea reports each day is now below the prior day most of the time. On March 23, the country announced 64 new cases — the lowest since its outbreak began four weeks ago — but it reported 76 new cases on March 24, 100 on March 25, and 104 on March 26.
Iran has reported 29,406 infections and 2,234 deaths.
Senior Iranian officials have contracted the virus and Iran’s Parliament is closed.
Journalists are challenging the country’s infection and death counts, however, suggesting that the real totals are even higher. The WHO said in February that Iran’s death toll could be five times as high as what the country is reporting because of limits on testing for the virus.
Satellite images show massive burial trenches that can be seen from space.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are postponed.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee agreed on March 21 to delay the event until 2021, citing uncertainty about the pandemic and the health threat the games could pose.
Based on UNESCO estimates, more than 1.5 billion students have had their education disrupted.
A running UNESCO tally says that 165 countries have totally shut down their schools as of March 25, affecting over 1.5 billion students.
The closures have affected more than 87% of the enrolled learners in the world.
The virus has prompted strict lockdowns and travel bans around the world. Many countries have shut their borders, and the Trump administration has issued the highest possible travel warning for every country in the world.
The US State Department issued its highest-level travel advisory for every country on March 19, warning against any travel abroad. The country had already banned incoming travel from Europe, and shut its borders with Canada and Mexico to “non-essential travel.”
The European Union has also blocked all nonessential inbound travel, and many nations have shut their borders to non-citizens.
The true number of infected people worldwide is likely much higher than the official counts.
That’s because some people can be asymptomatic, and therefore may not seek a test.
Some countries, like the US, have also faced test shortages.
The US still lags behind other countries when it comes to testing people for the coronavirus, even though testing capacity is now increasing.
The White House and CDC have been criticized for their handling of the epidemic so far.
The CDC initially designed a faulty test for COVID-19, then hit delays in distributing a better one for state and local labs to use, ProPublica reported. That prompted a test-kit shortage that has prevented health officials from gaining a clear understanding of exactly how many Americans have contracted the virus.
President Trump has said he doesn’t take any responsibility for the significant delay in the country’s coronavirus testing capabilities. He tweeted on March 25 that the US had done more testing than any other nation. However, there is no clear tally of how many tests are being done in the country, and figures collected suggest that the US is far behind countries like South Korea when it comes to tests per capita.
The coronavirus’ incubation period is thought to be about five days.
A recent study found that the coronavirus’ average incubation period — the time that passes between when a patient gets infected and when their coronavirus test comes back positive — is five days. But in 1% of cases, it may last longer than two weeks.
Many countries have made quarantine policies based on a 14-day incubation, but the evidence is far from conclusive.
One study found that a patient’s incubation period was 19 days. Another study published early in February analyzed 1,099 coronavirus cases in China and reported that the incubation could be as long as 24 days.
COVID-19’s symptoms can be similar to pneumonia — they include fever and difficulty breathing.
The global fatality rate for the virus is around 4.5%, according to data from the WHO, but that could change.
The death rate is based on the ratio of reported deaths out of total cases.
A February study from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found a fatality rate of 2.3%.
A study from the Chinese CDC found that patients older than 80 had a 15% death rate.
Coronavirus patients with underlying health problems are also more likely to die than otherwise healthy people.
Patients with heart disease had a 10% death rate, according to the same Chinese CDC study. The death rate for patients who reported no preexisting conditions was less than 1%.
A tour guide in Japan tested positive for the virus a second time last month — evidence that people might be at risk of getting the coronavirus multiple times.
The patient — a woman in her 40s living in Osaka, Japan — first tested positive for the virus on January 29, and recovered. Nearly two weeks later, she developed throat and chest pains. She tested positive again on February 26.
China has also reported cases of people getting reinfected, though they remain rare.
Few children have gotten sick, but the coronavirus may pose more of a risk to kids than scientists initially thought.
The virus mostly affects adults, but a study of 2,000 children who contracted COVID-19 in China found that children could play a role in spreading the virus and that 6% of infected kids developed severe or critical infections.
The worst-affected were infants: in the study, 10% of children under one year old developed a severe or critical infection, compared to 7% of under-five-year-olds, and 4% of kids aged five to 10 years old.
The WHO cautioned parents to safeguard their children against the coronavirus.
Healthcare workers are particularly at risk. At least 3,400 Chinese healthcare workers have been infected, and at least 46 have died.
Research published in February found that nearly a third of hospitalized patients studied at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University were healthcare workers.
Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, was hailed as a hero in China after he contracted the virus and died while treating patients. He had warned fellow medical-school alumni about the disease before it was widely understood, for which Chinese authorities punished him.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people should wash their hands frequently with soap and water, making sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds.
The WHO, US CDC, and multiple other national health agencies all agree on the importance of handwashing. People should also avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
US health officials do not recommend face masks for the general public.
For healthy people, handwashing and avoiding close contact with sick patients is a better way to prevent infection.
Stocking up on face masks can also reduce the supply for medical workers who need them. On Thursday, the CDC updated its guidance on masks for healthcare workers, saying that, in lieu of a surgical mask or an N95 mask, they could use a bandana or a scarf to cover their faces.
The first case of the coronavirus was reported in Wuhan in December.
The central Chinese city has a population of 11 million.
Some experts think the coronavirus first infected humans at a seafood market in Wuhan. But a recent study suggested the virus could have originated outside the market.
Since most of the early patients had links to one market where live animals were sold, scientists pinpointed it as the likely origin of the virus.
The virus appears to have mutated to allow it to spread to people when it had previously been limited to animals.
However, a group of Chinese scientists recently published a study suggesting that the virus could have started somewhere else, with the Wuhan market merely boosting the outbreak.
Researchers think the virus originated in bats, then jumped to an intermediary species — most likely pangolins, pigs, or civets — that passed it to people.
Researchers at the South China Agricultural University have suggested that the endangered pangolin may have been the intermediary species between bats and people.
The SARS virus also originated in bats. It jumped to humans from civet cats at a Chinese market that sold live animals. SARS killed 774 people from November 2002 to July 2003.
The viruses that cause the two diseases belong to the same coronavirus family.
The total number of coronavirus cases and deaths have far surpassed those of the SARS outbreak.
In late January, officials quarantined Wuhan and nearby cities by shutting down all transportation. The restrictions are starting to lift.
Wuhan’s 11 million residents were told not to leave the city, barring special circumstances. All of Wuhan’s transportation — including trains, buses, metros, ferries, planes, and cars — was halted January 23.
A CNN analysis in February found that more than 780 million people in China — more than half the population — were under some sort of travel restriction.
But China is now lifting restrictions, saying it will allow transport systems to run again from Wuhan on April 8. The rest of Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital, has begun to allow travel again.
Some experts fear that when lockdowns end, a “boomerang effect” will occur, bringing a resurgence of the virus. Tokyo and Hong Kong, cities which managed to prevent outbreaks despite being some of the earliest-hit cities, are now worried about a new wave of cases.
There are no vaccines to prevent humans from contracting the virus, but multiple drugmakers are racing to develop one.
A wide range of companies, including behemoths like Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi as well as smaller biotech companies and academic research labs, are conducting research.
Some are developing vaccines from scratch, while others are testing existing drugs. At least seven vaccines are likely to enter the human testing stage by the end of 2020.
Lauren Frias, Rosie Perper, Aylin Woodward, Kieran Corcoran, and Ali Millington contributed to this report.