Through illness, community and national lockdowns, and economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of millions of people worldwide. At Britannica we have been fielding questions about the pandemic from readers, and we’ve had a few questions of our own. Here are answers to some of our readers’ and our own questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Coronavirus?
Where are we on the curve?
COVId-19 Outcomes
COVID-19 Timeline And Symptoms
Understanding Pandemics

A pandemic is an outbreak of infectious disease that occurs over a wide geographical area and that is of high prevalence. A pandemic generally affects a significant proportion of the world’s population, usually over the course of several months. Throughout history, humanity has survived several pandemics. While this global health crisis continues to evolve, it can be useful to look to the past to help us understand our possible future.

What can previous pandemics teach us about our response today?

Britannica Editors are answering some common questions about COVID-19.

In times like these, knowledge and information is powerful.  If you have a question or would like to view other questions Britannica readers have been asking, please visit our new Question and Answer Platform.

Misinformation about COVID-19 is dangerous, and the falsehoods related to COVID-19 raise serious public health and safety. Read more

Although it may feel like all the news is bad regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few positive stories to share. For example, efforts to relieve hospitals’ shortages of masks, respirators, and other supplies have come from some of the most unlikely places. Read more 

The incubation period for a disease can be determined in several ways. Generally, however, it is calculated as the time from a known exposure incident to the infectious agent until onset of symptoms. Read more

Sparking national conversations

From national emergencies to government aid and statewide curfews, COVID-19 has changed the national conversation as we know it. It has provoked a global discussion and questions about our healthcare systems, how we diagnose, how we work, how we educate, and so much more.  

How fast can the economy actually recover from COVID-19?

What is the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation

COVID-19 Advice from a family therapist

What other former US presidents have led during times of similar national or global crisis?

What previous leaders and their response most inspired their countries during a crisis?

Did previous pandemics foster better global relationships? Or did it draw sharper boundaries?

What is martial law, and how does it work?

When was the last time a national emergency was called?

What were some of the world's most devastating financial crises?

How to talk to young children about the coronavirus?

When was the last time schools were closed in the U.S. for a health crisis?

What are emergency powers, and when did they emerge?

COVID-19 emergency resources now available to every school

 Over the past two months, Britannica has been working with our partner schools across the world who are grappling with COVID-19 school closures and student absences and making swift plans to keep their communities safe. As schools across the United States implement and prepare for school closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, we want to ensure that you are aware of the free emergency support and virtual-learning classroom resources Britannica has made available to every school.