When the United States began shutting down this spring, a virus that emerged months earlier as a mysterious outbreak in a Chinese provincial capital had infected a total of fewer than 200,000 people worldwide.
So far this week, the planet has added an average of more than 200,000 cases every day.
The novel coronavirus has now crept into virtually every corner of the globe and is wreaking havoc in multiple major regions at once. But the impact is not being felt evenly. Poorer nations throughout Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa are bearing a growing share of the caseload, even as wealthier countries in Western Europe and East Asia enjoy a relative respite after having beaten back the worst effects through rigorously enforced lockdowns.
And then there’s the United States, which leads the world in new cases and, as with many nations that possess far fewer resources, has shown no sign of being able to regain control.