TOKYO -- At the very beginning of the year, Nikkei Asia reported an outbreak of a "viral pneumonia of unknown origin" emerging from the Chinese city of Wuhan. The new coronavirus, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, has gone on to infect more than 80 million people globally -- with probably millions more cases unrecorded -- and it is no exaggeration to say it has turned the world on its head.
COVID-19 has killed around 1.7 million people, sunk many countries into recession, roiled markets, grounded planes, closed schools, locked down cities, and placed incredible burdens on hospitals and medical workers. It has also had incalculable impacts, such as its toll on mental health. The virus has brought phrases such as social distancing, cluster, asymptomatic, contact tracing, false positives and reproductive rate into the common lexicon, and has made mask-wearing almost universal -- certainly in Asian nations.