More than 75,000 cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 have now been confirmed across the planet, with all but a few hundred being in China, where the disease first broke out. The death toll for coronavirus surpassed the 2,000 mark on February 19, although almost 15,000 people have now recovered.
Despite the recovery rate far exceeding the fatality rate, COVID-19 remains a global threat, which is where an interactive map from mapping firm HERE Technologies.
The map allows you to track the spread of the virus in real time, and shows the scale of the problem in each country.
For example, the larger the circle hovering over each country, the more people are infected.
By zooming in on an area, one can even look at how individual cities are infected with the disease.
A statement on the website of HERE said: “The first case of the new Coronavirus COVID-19 was recorded on 31 December in Wuhan, China (WHO).
“Since then, 75,200 confirmed cases have been recorded worldwide. This visualisation shows the near real-time status based on data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University and DXY.”
The World Health Organisation has said it could take up to 18 months to create a vaccine but experts have said it could prove difficult to do so as coronaviruses are good mutators.
Rob Grenfell, Director of Health and Biosecurity at CSIRO, and Trevor Drew, Director of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), said that as COVID-19 is an animal virus which was passed on to humans, it has already shown it is capable of mutating.
As it is past from person to person and region to region, the duo say, it will continue to mutate even more so, perhaps differently in varying regions of the world.
The pair wrote in an article for The Conversation: “Being an animal virus, it has already likely mutated as it adapted – first to another animal, and then jumping from an animal to humans.
“Initially this was without transmission among people, but now it has taken the significant step of sustained human-to-human transmission.
“As the virus continues to infect people, it is going through something of a stabilisation, which is part of the mutation process.
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“This mutation process may even vary in different parts of the world, for various reasons.
“This includes population density, which influences the number of people infected and how many opportunities the virus has to mutate.”
However, thanks to the SARS outbreak of the early 2000s, scientists have a head start in developing vaccines for coronaviruses.
They stated: “Developing a vaccine is a huge task and not something that can happen overnight. But if things go to plan, it will be much faster than we’ve seen before.”
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