President Ramaphosa declared a national lockdown
  • The new coronavirus has killed more than 147,000 people around the world.
  • It's extremely contagious and spreads from person to person easily through close contact.
  • The most severe coronavirus cases often include difficulty breathing and can require hospitalisation, in which patients may be hooked up to ventilators to blow more  oxygen into their lungs.
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The novel coronavirus has already killed more than 4,500 people in China, 22,100 in Italy, 19,300 in Spain, and it isn't done yet.

In the US, now the epicenter of this global pandemic, more than 660,000 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed to date, and upwards of 32,900 people have died so far.

As of April 17, here's how the death count of Covid-19 compared with other pandemics that have spread far and wide, with devastating consequences:

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Covid-19 is extremely contagious and spreads easily from person to person through close contact.

It's too early to calculate the overall death rate from the viral illness, but so far the most severe coronavirus cases often include some difficulty breathing, and many of those require hospitalisation. In intensive care, patients may be hooked up to ventilators, which help blow more oxygen into a person's lungs.

Update: This post was originally published on April 1, 2020. It was updated last on April 17.

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