Medical workers stretch a patient from an Italian Red Cross ambulance into an intensive care unit set up in a sports center outside the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, on March 23, 2020 during the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic.
Miguel Medina | AFP | Getty Images
Three months after the coronavirus emerged in China, it has quickly spread to nearly half a million people across the globe, killing more than 22,000 people and bringing the world economy to a near-grinding halt.
Some scientists estimate that millions will ultimately die before COVID-19 runs its course. There’s a lot that infectious disease specialists and scientists still don’t know about the virus. Exactly how deadly and contagious COVID-19 is, is still a matter of debate.
We break down what we know about the virus and how it compares with some of history’s deadliest pandemics and diseases. First, you’ll have to bone up on a bit of epidemiology.
- R naught (a mathematical term that indicates how contagious an…