More than a million people have died from this corona virusAccording to AFP data, after the deadly disease emerged less than a year ago in China and swept across the world.
That pandemic has devastated the world economy, fueled geopolitical tensions and turned life upside down, from the slums of India and the Brazilian jungles to America’s largest city, New York.
Sports, live entertainment and international travel came to a halt as fans, spectators and tourists were forced to stay at home, staying inside with strict measures in place to curb virusspread.
Drastic controls that put half of humanity – more than four billion people – under some form of lockdown in April initially slowed its pace, but as restrictions have been eased, cases have spiked again.
As of Sunday 2230 GMT the disease had claimed 1,000,009 victims out of 33,018,877 infections on record, according to an AFP tally using official sources.
The United States has the highest mortality rate with more than 200,000 deaths followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and England.
For Italian truck driver Carlo Chiodi, the gloomy figures include his parents, who he says went missing within days of each other.
“What I find difficult to accept is that I saw my father walking out of the house, into an ambulance, and all I can say to him is ‘goodbye’,” said Chiodi, 50.
“I’m sorry I didn’t say ‘I love you’ and I’m sorry I didn’t hug him. It still hurts me,” he told AFP.
With scientists still racing to find a working vaccine, governments are once again forced into an uneasy balancing act: Virus control slows the spread of disease, but they hurt already shaky economies and businesses.
The IMF warned earlier this year that economic upheaval could lead to a “crisis like no other” as world GDP collapses.
Europe, hard hit by the first wave, is now facing another spike in cases, with Paris, London and Madrid all forced to introduce controls to slow down infections that threaten overloaded hospitals.
Masks and social distancing in shops, cafes and public transport are now part of everyday life in many cities.
Mid-September saw a record increase in cases in most regions and World Health Organization has warned that virus deaths could even double to two million without global collective action.
“One million is a terrible number and we need to ponder it before we start considering the second million,” WHO emergency director Michael Ryan told reporters on Friday.
“Are we ready collectively to do what is necessary to avoid that figure?”
Waking up because of COVID-19
How the virus got there is unclear but scientists think it originated in bats and could be passed to humans via other mammals.
Wuhan closed in January as other countries looked in disbelief at China’s ruthless control, even as they carried on business as usual.
As of March 11, the virus has emerged in more than 100 countries and The World Health Organization declared a pandemic, expressing concern about “an alarming rate of inaction”.
Patrick Vogt, a family doctor in Mulhouse, the city that was the epicenter of the outbreak in France in March, said he realized the coronavirus was everywhere when doctors started getting sick, some died.
“We saw people in our operation who had very severe breathing problems, were young and not very young who were exhausted,” he said. “We don’t have a therapeutic solution.”
Viruses also didn’t spare the rich or famous this year.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a week in hospital. Madonna tested positive after touring France as did Tom Hanks and his recovering wife and returned home to Los Angeles after quarantine in Australia.
The Tokyo Olympics, the famous Rio Carnival and the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca are some of the major events that have been postponed or disrupted by the pandemic. Premier League football has restarted but with empty stadiums. The French Open tennis tournament limits its attendance to 1,000 per day.
Israel has put into a complete lockdown again and vulnerable Moscow has been ordered to stay at home.
As restrictions tightened, protests and outrage escalated as businesses worried about their survival and individuals became frustrated about their jobs and families in the face of another round of lockdown measures.
Anti-lockdown protesters and police clashed in central London on Saturday when officers dispersed thousands of people at a demonstration.
“This is the final blow – We are starting to bounce back,” said Patrick Labourrasse, a restaurateur in Aix-en-Provence, a French city near Marseille that was again forced to close bars and restaurants.
Along with the chaos, however, there is some hope, with Wuhan now appearing to have the disease under control.
“Life has returned to the kind of flavor we had before,” said resident An An. “Everyone living in Wuhan is comfortable.”
And the IMF said the economic outlook looks brighter now than June, even if it remains “very challenging”.
Most importantly, nine vaccine candidate is at the last stage clinical trials, with the hope that some will launch next year, although questions remain about how and when they will be distributed worldwide.