On 16 November 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was observed for the first time in Wuhan, China. In the months since, it has spread throughout the world. Faced with a situation beyond its control, on 30 January 2020 the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern.
Two months later, on 11 March 2020, the status of the epidemic changed: it was now a pandemic.
In the face of this threat to public health, the world’s governments took measures to slow down the spread of the virus in their countries as much as possible. For the first time in the modern age, the majority of countries around the world applied measures such as curfews and lockdowns. These forced people to stay at home, sometimes to the point of stopping them going out to work.
If the economic impact of these measures has been severe, the psychological impact on people around the world has been just as bad. For example, many scientific studies have shown that being in lockdown drastically increased the number of cases of depression and even smoking.
There has been plenty of fake news too, including about electronic cigarettes. For a while, they were under attack for allegedly spreading the virus in their vapour. However, statements like these were quickly contradicted by scientific analysis.