The scientific community largely believes that the epidemic began because an animal transmitted the virus to humans, possibly at the Huanan Market in Wuhan, China. However, US researchers and officials suggested the hypothesis that the virus leaked from a laboratory, apparently from the Wuhan Institute.
From the emergence of the epidemic at the end of 2019 to the World Health Organization’s lifting of the state of health emergency on Friday, the following are the most prominent stations of Covid-19:
On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization noted alarming cases of atypical pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
On January 7, 2020, the cause was determined to be a novel coronavirus. Four days later, Beijing announced the first official death. On the 23rd, Wuhan was quarantined.
Rapid spread of the new disease called COVID-19: On March 6, the number of people infected with the epidemic officially exceeded 100,000 cases worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially described the epidemic as a “pandemic”.
Italy, the first affected European country, imposed a lockdown in the north, which then extended to the rest of the country.
On March 16, Germany called on its residents to “stay at home” and the United Kingdom to avoid all “social contacts”. France announced the closure on the 17th of it. In this context, the European Union closed its external borders.
Humanity is isolated
In early April, more than 3.9 billion people (half of humanity) were forced or required to self-quarantine, according to an AFP tally. More than a million injuries have been reported.
The stock market collapsed and entire sectors of the global economy, such as transportation and tourism, stopped. Governments and central banks announced the first massive measures to support the economy.
deaths in the United States and Brazil
The epidemic spread in the United States and Brazil in the spring of 2020, overtaking Europe in the number of deaths.
Former US President Donald Trump has confirmed several times that the virus will eventually disappear naturally. His Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, called Covid an “accidental cold”. Their management of the pandemic has long been heavily criticized.
Anti-mask, vaccine and health certificate
In the summer of 2020, the resurgence of the epidemic in Europe prompted many countries to mandate the wearing of masks in transportation, streets, schools and businesses. Demonstrations, sometimes violent, took place against the wearing of the muzzle. A year later, there have been protests against the Covid vaccine and the obligation to show a health certificate or vaccination.
Vaccines in record time
Vaccines were developed in record time, and the first doses were given at the end of 2020 in the United States and Europe.
After a shy start, vaccination campaigns accelerated dramatically during 2021, in Western countries.
But at the global level, access to the vaccine remained uneven: Africa recorded a very low vaccination rate of 24 percent, compared to 64 percent worldwide (WHO figures in autumn 2022).
The search for the origin of the epidemic
In January and February 2021, a delegation from the World Health Organization investigated the origin of the new coronavirus in China, without reaching a conclusion. The World Health Organization called on all countries to publish the information available to them, especially China and the United States.
The scientific community widely believes that the epidemic began because an animal transmitted the virus to humans, possibly in the Huanan Market in Wuhan, China. However, US researchers and officials suggested the hypothesis that the virus leaked from a laboratory, apparently from the Wuhan Institute.
Delta and Omicron: dangerous mutants
The delta mutant led to massive deaths in April and May 2021 in India, which has become the third most affected country by the epidemic in the world. And it caused a new outbreak of the epidemic, especially in Russia.
At the end of November, the most contagious Omicron variant that emerged in South Africa caused panic. It spread worldwide in early 2022, causing record infections but with less severe symptoms.
Epidemic outbreak in China
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strict “zero Covid” policy of draconian restrictions sparked a wave of protests in November unprecedented since the pro-democracy mobilization of Tiananmen in 1989. In response, Beijing eased health restrictions on December 7. December, then most restrictions were lifted, and this was accompanied by an unprecedented increase in the number of infections with overcrowded hospitals and a shortage of medicines.
Many countries have imposed negative tests on arrivals from China at the beginning of 2023.
Gradually lift the measures
In March, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 pandemic may recede this year to the extent that it poses a threat similar to that of seasonal influenza.
Countries have gradually lifted the state of health emergency and anti-COVID measures. In particular, with China re-issuing visas in March and the end of compulsory vaccination for entry into the United States or for caregivers in France in May.
Raising the state of health emergency
Friday, May 5, the World Health Organization decided to lift the state of health emergency. Its director general estimated that the pandemic had killed “at least 20 million people,” a toll three times higher than official estimates.