COVID-19: The Global Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have identified an outbreak of respiratory illnesses caused by a novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. The WHO Director-General announced at a media briefing that the COVID-19 outbreak has been classified as a pandemic. This post is being updated as of August 25, 2021. As of August 25, 2021 there are a total of 213,347,574 global cases with 4,455,551 mortalities. A total of 38,077,523 cases have been reported in the United States, which surpasses the total number of cases reported anywhere else in the world. There have been a total of 630,838 deaths in the United States.  In India, there have been 32,512,366 cases with with an associated 435,758 mortalities.  In Brazil, there have been a total of 20,614,866 cases with an associated 575,742 mortalities. In the United Kingdom, there have been 6,586,184 cases with an associated 132,174 mortalities. In Indonesia, there have been 4,026,837 cases with an associated 129,293 mortalities.  In France, there have been 6,734,077 cases with an associated 114,026 mortalities. In Turkey, there have been 6,253,681 cases with an associated 54,995 mortalities. In Iran, there have been a total of 4,796,377 cases with an associated 104,022 mortalities.

The data for overall cases and the data for 28-day cases varies greatly.  The countries with the highest 28-day mortalities are as follows: United States (3,470,967); India (1,027,761); Iran (998,197); Brazil (865,793), and United Kingdom (814,449).

 The Johns Hopkins map reports updated data on the current case count around the world.

At this time, the global number of vaccinated individuals is reported to be 5,026,045,134.  An estimated 51% of the United States population is fully vaccinated.

The mode of transmission of COVID-19 is by respiratory aerosol and is spread from person-to-person. The signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 are variable and can mimic many other illnesses. According to the CDC,  the following signs and symptoms are associated with COVID-19 at time of illness onset: fever, constant or intermittent (77–98%), cough (46%–82%), myalgia or fatigue (11–52%), and shortness of breath (3-31%). The CDC also noted that while fever was present in only 44% of patients at the time of hospital admission, 89% of patients became febrile during their admission. Other possible symptoms include sore throat, headache, productive cough, nausea, and diarrhea.

Please visit this post for more detailed information on laboratory testing. In addition to the PCR test, the CDC notes other common laboratory abnormalities found in patients with COVID-19. These include: leukopenia (9–25%), leukocytosis (24–30%), lymphopenia (63%), elevated alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels (37%), thrombocytopenia (36%), and leukopenia (34%).

For all new and updating information concerning the COVID-19 global pandemic, refer to the AccessMedicine COVID-19 Central channel (and "watch" the channel to receive alerts when new and updating information arrives).

Julie Grishaw, ACNP

Senior Editor, McGraw-Hill Education