The new coronavirus has infected close to 2 million people around the world, according to Johns Hopkins data, nearing a grim milestone that exposes the difficulty of trying to contain the deadly pathogen.

What began as a mysterious pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan, China, late last year has morphed into a global health crisis that has threatened health systems and economies alike.

It took about four months for the virus to infect 1 million people, on April 3, and just over a week for that number to almost double. The total case count today is likely even higher than 2 million, with countries including the U.S. and in the developing world testing only a fraction of their populations.
The virus, which causes the Covid-19 disease, can in some cases spread easily and quietly. People can pass it onto others before they even know they’re sick — or without ever developing a cough or fever, the disease’s hallmarks.

Cases in the U.S. have dwarfed other nations. Outbreaks in major metropolitan areas like New York City, Seattle and Detroit have killed thousands and shut down American life in many regions.