The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 31 October 2020, more than 45.4 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.18 million deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The incubation period is typically around five days but may range from one to 14 days. There are several vaccine candidates in development, although none have completed clinical trials. There is no known specific antiviral medication, so primary treatment is currently symptomatic.Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, covering one's mouth when sneezing or coughing, social distancing, wearing a face mask in public, ventilation and air-filtering, disinfecting surfaces, and monitoring and self-isolation for people exposed or symptomatic. Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace hazard controls, and facility closures. Many places have also worked to increase testing capacity and trace contacts of the infected.
The responses have caused global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. It has led to the postponement or cancellation of events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, famines affecting hundreds of millions of people, and decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Educational institutions have been partially or fully closed. Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media. There have been incidents of xenophobia and discrimination against Chinese people and against those perceived as being Chinese or as being from areas with high infection rates.