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Since it was first reported in Wuhan China in December 2019, COVID-19 has spread to almost every country on earth and shows no signs of slowing down. It has infected at least 35 million individuals, killed over 1 million and changed the way we live as a global community for the foreseeable future, perhaps forever. The COVID-19 pandemic is without doubt the health event which has most profoundly affected human societies in modern times, surpassing the fear that HIV instilled in human population in the previous century. Yet behind these high level, sobering figures, a more nuanced reality exists. The pandemic has not affected the entire world equally, and context-specific circumstances and responses have determined the current and future path of the pandemic in different countries and continents.
This e-collection on COVID-19 original papers aims to explore and illustrate these nuances by showcasing and contrasting findings about the causes, characteristics and future of the pandemic in Europe, Asia and Africa: the findings illustrate not only how there are common lessons to be learnt but also how solutions need to take the context into account to be successful, whether it is culture-specific acceptability of social restrictions or how social networks are organized differently according to location. This e-collection also touches on an important topic that will become crucial as we win our fight against COVID-19: the indirect long term impact of the pandemic as a result of disrupting healthcare services. COVID-19 will continue to affect global health long after the pandemic is over.
Deputy Editor, Epidemiology and Infection