Dec 5, 2021 - World

Two years of COVID-19

Daily global COVID-19 cases
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

  • We know much more about the disease and how to treat it, but the end still isn't in sight.

Here's a look at the world's pandemic journey over the past two years:

  • March 24, 2021: With a brutal second wave taking hold, powered by the Delta variant, India suspends vaccine exports. India will become the global pandemic epicenter.
  • Early July, 2021: After falling sharply in the spring, cases begin to rise again in both the U.S. and EU, with the unvaccinated hit hardest.
  • July 29, 2021: Israel announces that it will begin administering booster shots, starting a trend across most wealthy countries.
  • Nov. 1, 2021: The official worldwide death count hits 5 million.
  • Nov. 5, 2021: Half of the global population has had at least one shot.
  • Nov. 25, 2021: South Africa reports the Omicron variant.
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