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Here's how we got to 1 million global coronavirus deaths, with the US leading the world
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Here's how we got to 1 million global coronavirus deaths, with the US leading the world

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On a Thursday night in early January, the disease that would become known as COVID-19 claimed its first victim, a 61-year-old man who succumbed to the newly identified coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, in the People’s Republic of China.

Nine months later, the pandemic took its millionth life. And while the vagaries of record-keeping mean we may never know who that victim was, the fact remains: COVID has killed a million people.

Tens of millions of things undone. Daughters and sons unborn, works of genius uncreated. Pieces of communities — excised. Entire residential complexes filled with older people — ravaged. Human contribution melted away, with no way of ever knowing or chronicling what was lost. Accounting for what’s missing when people die is never an easy task; now it is one multiplied by an entire million.

A new Associated Press interactive map of the coronavirus’ spread — represented by the lives it has claimed — blends data and geography in a way that forces us to see what has happened to the world. And what is still happening to it.

Like so many things in the world, it started small. At first, the map shows only one splash of color: China, the place where the coronavirus silently began its march.

As it began to move around, the map evolved. Month by month, week by week, day by day, the coronavirus spread. Pandemic was declared. Hospitals girded. Cities and countries, shut down. The world changed so fast that its people could barely keep up.

How did something so contained at first, so localized, upend the routines and activities of huge chunks of human civilization?

Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.

  • Hundreds of thousands of elementary school students are heading back to classrooms this week as New York City enters a high-stakes stage of resuming in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic, which is keeping students at home in many other big U.S. school systems.
  • An additional 700,000 children in Syria face hunger because of the country's badly damaged economy and the impact of coronavirus restrictions, an international aid group warned Tuesday.
  • Thousands of schoolteachers will receive $500 grants from author James Patterson to help students build reading skills, especially as schools struggle to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised new adult education and training programs to help workers recover amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Several groups have started funds to help Black-owned businesses across the country, a nod to the difficulty that Black businesses have in landing bank loans and the disproportionate impact the virus has on African American families.
  • House Democrats unveiled a scaled-back $2.2 trillion aid measure Monday in an attempt to boost long-stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, though there was no sign of progress in continuing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
  • Mexico upped its “estimated” COVID-19 deaths to 89,612 on Monday, and boosted estimates of its total number of cases to 870,699, almost 137,000 more than it previously recognized.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for scenes around the world as the virus death toll hits 1 million.

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Photos: A look at the virus's impact around the world

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Virus by the numbers

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