The genesis of this special newsletter on COVID-19 was rather naive in retrospect. In early summer, my colleagues began strategizing on how to cover the next phase of the pandemic, and one question was: Could we in the U.S. work with editions of The Conversation in other countries to expand our coverage of COVID-19? At the time, my thinking was that the time was ripe to look outside the U.S. because many Americans were breathing a collective sigh of relief as rapid vaccination of tens of millions of people allowed many to act more or less like it was pre-pandemic times.

It is, in fact, an excellent time to look at the bigger picture of the pandemic around the world, but not at all for the reasons I first thought. As we all know, cases are shooting up around the world and that springtime optimism in the U.S. is fast slipping away. But how this latest wave is playing out varies dramatically country to country, and each nation faces its own particular challenges – something our collection of articles shows.

Working with colleagues in other countries, we published a series of articles analyzing the state of the pandemic in individual countries. There’s a lot to learn in looking at a nation’s response overall. In India, for instance, the number of people who are not vaccinated or have not already been infected is more than the total population of the U.S., an indication of the scale of the challenge of mass vaccination. Meanwhile, in Russia, deep-rooted skepticism of institutions has contributed to a vaccination rate around 24%, less than half the U.S. And despite the U.K.’s great success with vaccination and falling infections, it’s likely to face a new wave of cases in the fall.

This curated list of stories is just a snapshot of the global coverage on the pandemic, written by medical and public health experts, we’ve already published and will continue to bring you in the months ahead.

If you’d like to get more science news from The Conversation, sign up for our weekly science newsletter, which is sent out every Wednesday afternoon.


Martin La Monica

Director of Editorial Projects and Newsletters


After India’s brutal coronavirus wave, two-thirds of population has been exposed to SARS-CoV2

Rajib Dasgupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University

A public health scholar based in New Delhi explains how India has emerged from the massive spike in COVID-19 cases, even as the country braces for a new wave.

Russia’s COVID-19 response slowed by population reluctant to take domestic vaccine

Arik Burakovsky, Tufts University

Another wave of COVID-19 in Russia is undermining public health and threatens economic recovery. But widespread mistrust of institutions will stymie the country’s efforts to move past the pandemic.

UK COVID cases have fallen dramatically – but another wave is likely

Adam Kleczkowski, University of Strathclyde

Vaccine coverage is among the world’s best and cases have come down from their peak – but the pandemic isn’t over yet.

Italy – once overwhelmed by COVID-19 – turns to a health pass and stricter measures to contain virus

Sara Belligoni, University of Central Florida

After enduring a devastating wave of infections, deaths and lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, Italy is putting in place tougher anti-COVID measures, including a vaccine passport.

Mexico, facing its third COVID-19 wave, shows the dangers of weak federal coordination

Adolfo Martinez Valle, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM); Felicia Marie Knaul, University of Miami

COVID-19 cases in Mexico are approaching the highest levels seen during the second wave in late January 2021, with about 22,000 new infections a day. A slow vaccine rollout is stunting progress.

From ground zero to zero tolerance – how China learnt from its COVID response to quickly stamp out its latest outbreak

Michael Toole, Burnet Institute

Since late July, China has faced its biggest challenge since the first wave in Wuhan.

  • A map of the world with circles over different countries. The circle size corresponds to the number of daily confirmed cases in that country.

Nigeria isn’t ready to deal with rising COVID-19 cases

Doyin Odubanjo, Nigerian Academy of Science

Nigeria must increase its testing capacity and do more genomic studies to deal effectively with the Delta variant of COVID-19.

What Kenya needs to do better as it braces for fourth wave of COVID-19

Abdu Mohiddin, Aga Khan University ; Marleen Temmerman, Aga Khan University ; Rodney Adam, Aga Khan University Hospital

The new Delta variant presents a considerable threat due to its significantly increased transmissibility rather than severity.

How a perfect storm of events is turning Myanmar into a ‘super-spreader’ COVID state

Adam Simpson, University of South Australia; Nicholas Farrelly, University of Tasmania

COVID is running rampant in Myanmar, where the military junta has been accused of arresting doctors and weaponising the pandemic. The result could be catastrophic for the entire region.

Indonesia records its highest increase in COVID cases – and numbers are likely to rise again before they fall

Dicky Budiman, Griffith University

COVID-19 cases in Indonesia are rising and are expected to keep doing so for another two weeks until the effects of restrictions and mask mandates are seen.

  • A bar graph showing the percentage of people vaccinated against COVID-19 by country. Each country's bar is broken down to show the fully vaccinated, partly vaccinated and unvaccinated.