The coronavirus pandemic crossed the five million infected worldwide threshold within two weeks of the total surpassing four million on Thursday. The steady rise in cases not only reflects the virus's level of contagion but also an increase in testing globally as more countries access necessary resources. The virus's spread looks much different than it did only months ago, with new countries replacing past major outbreaks the leaderboard of cases. As the United States continues to remain at the top spot by total number of cases, Russia and Brazil's number of cases are also increasing rapidly.

Yet, other outbreaks have began to come under control, with many parts of the world focusing heavily on restarting their economies in time for the Northern Hemisphere's summer season as tourism is a major source of revenue. Italy, Europe's major epicenter, has overcome the worst part of the coronavirus crisis.

"We can say that the worst is behind us," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Italian Parliament on Thursday. "We cannot stop to wait for a vaccine, otherwise we would find ourselves with an irreparably compromised society and production system."

Italy, along with much of Europe and Untied State's epicenters like New York City, is starting to move forward into a completely new landscape of society post the initial outbreak of COVID-19.

However, there is still so many unknowns about the novel coronavirus and the future the global community is heading towards.

A new study from Milan Polyclinic Hospital indicates that the virus was more widespread in Milan, Italy before the city's first confirmed cases was detected. Researchers found that one in 20 blood donors in the area already had the virus's antibodies days before the nation's first case. France had a similar discover with a patient testing positive from December 27 and California can date the virus back to February 6.

Its still too early to tell if reopening will or won't lead to a second wave of the coronavirus. Nevertheless, President Donald Trump is one of the first world leaders to state that they will not close their country down to a potential second wave of the coronavirus.

"People say that's a very distinct possibility, it's standard," Trump stated during a visit at a Ford (F  ) factory in Michigan. "We are going to put out the fires. We're not going to close the country. We can put out the fires. Whether it is an ember or a flame, we are going to put it out. But we are not closing our country."

Total Global Cases: Over 5 Million

Total Deaths: Over 334,000

Total Recovered: Over 2 Million


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (H.H.S.) pledged up to $1.2 billion to the drug company AstraZeneca (ASN  ) to help develop a potential coronavirus vaccine and secure at least 300 million doses for the United States. According to Reuters, the deal allows for a late-stage/Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine with 30,000 people in the United States in the summer, with the H.H.S. stated that dose could be available as early as October.

"This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed's work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021," U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar stated.

This is the fourth and largest by far vaccine research agreement that the H.H.S. has made public. The department has also agreed to provide $483 million to biotech Moderna (MRNA  ), $500 million to pharmaceutical Johnson & Johnson (JNJ  ) and $30 million to French biotech Sanofi (SNY  ).