One year after a mysterious pathogen first revealed itself in Wuhan, China, the Covid-19 pandemic enters 2021 with no signs of slowing down. Global daily deaths reached record highs this week, while U.S. infections approached 20 million, almost twice as many as second-worst hit country India.
Countries from Japan to South Africa ended 2020 with record daily cases. In the U.S., New York state and Florida shattered their previous case records, while Texas saw a new high for hospitalizations. The U.S. added 227,616 cases on Dec. 31. China and Brazil became the latest to report infections of the new, highly transmissible virus strain.
Vaccines remained the best hope for 2021. The World Health Organization issued an emergency-use designation for Pfizer Inc.’s shot, a move that could allow more countries to import and distribute the vaccine. Singapore tightened restrictions on travelers from South Africa.