Coronavirus: How COVID-19 changed countries and continents – and what the future is likely to hold

COVID-19 has infected millions around the world since emerging in China late last year, claiming the lives of more than 660,000 people and changing our way of life for some time to come.

Now, fears of a second wave of coronavirus are growing in many nations.

Here, Sky News’ foreign correspondents across Asia, the US, Europe, Russia and India reveal how the virus has changed these continents and countries – and what is likely to happen there in the coming months.

Tom Cheshire, Asia correspondent

China was ground zero for COVID-19 back in late 2019. Back then it was a mystery virus.

After confusion and cover ups, the government brought it under control just as it was becoming a global pandemic.

All that time, China and several other Asian countries and territories – notably Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea – weathered the pandemic well, avoiding the terrible death tolls of Europe and the US.

But second or even third waves have arrived and cases are rising again.

China has seen its highest daily total since April; Hong Kong has recorded more cases than it did in the original wave; a new outbreak in Vietnam has spread to six cities.

As depressing as that is, the virus is much better understood, as are the tactics for containing it – especially targeted lockdowns and aggressive quarantines – and governments have wasted no time in imposing those measures.

Hopefully that means Asian countries can avoid their health systems being overwhelmed.

But it also suggests that, for the whole world, there is a long, hard slog ahead. Success in containing coronavirus can only ever be temporary.

Greg Milam, US correspondent

The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population but almost a quarter of its coronavirus fatalities.

It has also been the stage for the world’s most public political and social argument over how to get the virus under control.

Even now, six months on, the president is still touting treatments disavowed by his medical experts.

It has been left to governors of the 50 states to stitch together a patchwork of responses.

It is widely accepted that the re-opening came too soon, even in states like California which locked down early and had some success, and the cost can be measured in daily record-breaking numbers.

Donald Trump says the case numbers are so high because the country has been so successful in testing – but the death count can’t lie and new peaks in California, Texas and Florida tell a grim story.

There are some early signs the number of new infections is flattening again, a little hope that Americans have got the message.

But doctors are warning of a death toll in the “multiple hundreds of thousands”. And leading scientists say the country needs a “reset” in its approach by October, or a winter catastrophe looms.

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