Health and Science

The coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people and upended the global economy in less than nine months

Key Points
  • The Covid-19 global death toll marked yet another a grim milestone, taking more than 1 million lives.
  • CNBC has pulled together a package of stories looking back at how the coronavirus has changed society over the last nine months. 
  • Roughly half of the world's total Covid-19 fatalities have been reported in only four countries — the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
Frontline healthcare workers around the world recount stories of battling Covid-19: 'I never felt like a hero'

The coronavirus has killed at least 1 million people across the globe, a nightmarish milestone in the world's fight against the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China, late last year, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Roughly half of the world's total Covid-19 fatalities have been reported in only four countries — the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to Hopkins data.

The U.S. reached a death toll above 200,000 people last week, more than any other country on the planet. Declared a pandemic over six months ago, the coronavirus has swept through nearly every nation and has infected more than 33 million people along the way, according to Johns Hopkins. It's shuttered businesses and schools, wreaking havoc on global economies and leaving millions unemployed. 

"One million is a terrible number, and I think we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's health emergencies program, told reporters on Friday. 

Relatives of a deceased person wearing protective masks mourn during a mass burial of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery on May 19, 2020 in Manaus, Brazil.
Andre Coelho | Getty Images

CNBC has compiled a package of stories that will run Monday and Tuesday looking back at how the coronavirus pandemic has changed health care, the economy and society itself since its discovery less than nine months ago. 

A timeline of the insidious path the coronavirus took around the world to kill more than 1 million 

From a wet market in Wuhan, China, the coronavirus infiltrated Asia within weeks of its discovery before traveling to Europe, hitting the U.S. in January in Washington state and New York City. It's since spread throughout Latin America and now Africa.

Medical historian compares the coronavirus to the 1918 flu pandemic: Both were highly political 

A historical look at how the Covid-19 outbreak compares with the 1918 flu pandemic — from the diseases themselves to resistance to wearing masks during both outbreaks. There was even a 1918 epidemiologist who withstood criticism for his public health recommendations, similar to Dr. Anthony Fauci today.

As coronavirus deaths pass 1 million, health-care workers around the world share stories from the front lines 

From Bangalore, India, to Sao Paulo, doctors and health workers share personal stories about the coronavirus outbreak from across the world.

A municipal worker sanitizes a Roman Catholic Church graveyard after the burial of Covid-19 coronavirus infected people in Ranchi on September 6, 2020.
AFP | Getty Images

The coronavirus is shifting the power balance in air travel to last-minute leisure passengers 

Milan is out and the Rocky Mountains are in. The pandemic is turning airlines' most price-sensitive customers, leisure travelers, into a prize. Carriers are adding more vacation destinations and trying to create softer, gentler policies for a group that has long taken a back seat.

How the U.S. economic response to the pandemic stacks up to the rest of the world

While the U.S. health response to the coronavirus pandemic has faced criticism, the economic response has been among the best in the world. In the throes of the pandemic, the Federal Reserve and U.S. lawmakers moved swiftly to implement unprecedented stimulus aimed at supporting the largest economy in the world during a global halt to economic activity.

Coronavirus changed the 2020 money race — and helped Biden erase Trump's massive cash advantage

The coronavirus has changed everything about the 2020 presidential campaign, and the money race is no exception. Yet precisely how the two general election campaigns, Trump's and Biden's, have responded to the pandemic financially; and how they've raised and spent more than a billion dollars (and rising) in campaign donations this cycle could hardly be more different.

6 ways the coronavirus pandemic has forever altered the retail landscape

As the global death toll reaches 1 million, retailers stare down a new reality. The pandemic has altered not only their financial outlook for the year but their long-term direction. Some have filed for bankruptcy, laid off thousands of employees and are in the process of liquidating stores. Others, such as Target, Home Depot, Peloton and Lululemon, have benefited as consumers fix up their homes, look for ways to entertain themselves and adapt their daily routines and wardrobes. Here's a closer look at some ways that the pandemic has forever altered the retail landscape.

How Amazon managed the coronavirus crisis and came out stronger

Facing store closures and empty shelves, shoppers turned to Amazon during the pandemic first for products to protect them from Covid-19, like hand sanitizer, face masks and disinfectants. The flood of online orders propelled Amazon to record sales during the second quarter. It then spent billions on coronavirus-related investments like safety gear for workers and its internal testing initiative, called Project Ultraviolet. While the U.S. navigated widespread unemployment and economic turmoil, Amazon kept hiring.

'Helpless' doctors at start of coronavirus pandemic now have more treatments to save lives 

In the early weeks of the outbreak, doctors struggled to understand why some patients died and others recovered. Within a few weeks, things began to change as doctors made advances in catching the early warning signs of a severe case of the disease and learned how to intervene early and effectively. The "sacrifices" made by some of the first patients who didn't make it early in the outbreak helped teach doctors what they needed to do to save lives later. 

Movie theaters in jeopardy as studios move blockbusters to 2021, audiences stay home

As the world races to find a vaccine, the economy continues to struggle. Movie theaters are among a host of sectors that do not have a clear path to recovery. The threat of a resurgence of cases in the cooler autumn and winter months makes the future of the industry even more uncertain. The theater industry is "not going to recover fully until consumers are confident that they won't die if they go to the movies," said one analyst said.

New York City missing out on billions of tourism revenue as Broadway remains shuttered

In December, when 24-year-old Harrison Chapman gifted his girlfriend tickets to see "West Side Story" in March, he thought he'd delivered the perfect Christmas present. However, two weeks before they were set to settle into their seats to see the performance directed by Tony Award-winner Ivo van Hove, all 41 Broadway theaters were shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Six months later, Broadway remains closed and isn't slated to reopen until January 3, 2021.

Pandemic forces a reckoning for restaurants coping with capacity limits and new consumer habits

The pandemic has decimated restaurants -- particularly independent eateries -- and changed the course of the industry as operators try to adapt to new consumer changes that sprung from the virus. More than six months after states implemented stay-at-home orders, more than 100,000 bars and restaurants — or 15% of all eating and drinking establishments — have permanently closed, according to National Restaurant Association estimates. The trade group forecasts $240 billion in restaurant sales will be lost this year to the pandemic.

Relatives of a deceased person wearing protective masks mourn during a mass burial of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery on May 19, 2020 in Manaus, Brazil.
Andre Coelho | Getty Images