When news started to emerge about a novel virus in China – most people would never have imagined the long-lasting, devastating impact it would have.
The Covid-19 outbreak emerged in Wuhan.
On the 31 December 2019, Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organisation about several cases of an unusual pneumonia.
The virus was unknown.
It seemed to have started at a live animal market in Wuhan, otherwise known as a “wet market”.
It led to it closing down – and as the number of cases increased, China imposed a strict lockdown.
However, it didn’t stop the virus from travelling.
In February, the pandemic hit Bergamo, in the North of Italy.
Hospitals were soon overwhelmed, with funeral services and cemeteries struggling to cope.
By early March, Italy imposed a lockdown in the region of Lombardy.
The virus continued to spread around the world.
On the 11 March, the WHO declared it a pandemic.
As the infections continued to surge rapidly, Europe went into lockdown.
Life came to a halt and borders closed. It was unprecedented.
Businesses and schools also closed to slow down the spread of the virus – and to avoid a collapse of the healthcare system.
More than 250 million people were confined to their homes.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Brazil was one of the worst affected countries.
Families of victims and medical staff felt abandoned as their president, Jair Bolsonaro, played down the crisis and called the virus “a little flu”.
Whilst his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, claimed the virus would “go away”.
The numbers told a different story – at the beginning of April there were 30.000 new infections a day, with the country registering the most cases worldwide.
PPE was scarce and medical staff were forced to take huge risks without it to treat patients.
New York became one of the epicenters of it.
In Europe, the first lockdown proved effective, countries opened up again but people were urged to respect social distancing and to wear masks.
With rising temperatures, many celebrated the summer holidays.
But it didn’t last as the numbers began to creep back up.
European leaders tried to avoid a second lockdown, to keep the economy running.
Curfews and local restrictions were not enough though – and again, many countries entered a second partial or full lockdown.
Protests against the restrictions grew across the continent.
By December 2020, nearly 1, 5 million people had died from Covid-19 worldwide, with the number of cases passing 60 million.
Covid-19 vaccine trials started to give people hope – that it will be available to all in 2021.