COVID-19 from the start: Extensive, Detailed, Coronavirus Timeline (last update April 20, 2020)
12/10: Wei Guixian, one of the earliest known coronavirus patients, starts feeling ill. Source: 3
12/16: Patient admitted to Wuhan Central Hospital with infection in both lungs but resistant to anti-flu drugs. Staff later learned he worked at a wildlife market connected to the outbreak. Source: 3
12/17:Two dozen leading South Korean infectious diseases specialists tackled a worrying scenario: a South Korean family contracts pneumonia after a trip to China, where cases of an unidentified disease had arisen.
The hypothetical disease quickly spreads among the colleagues of the family members and medical workers who treated them. In response, the team of experts at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) developed an algorithm to find the pathogen and its origin, as well as testing techniques.
12/27: Wuhan health officials are told that a new coronavirus is causing the illness. Source: 3
12/30: Ai Fen, a top director at Wuhan Central Hospital, posts information on WeChat about the new virus. She was reprimanded for doing so and told not to spread information about it.
Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang also shares information on WeChat about the new SARS-like virus. He is called in for questioning shortly afterward.
Wuhan health commission notifies hospitals of a “pneumonia of unclear cause” and orders them to report any related information. Source: 3
12/31: Wuhan health officials confirm 27 cases of illness and close a market they think is related to the virus’ spread.
China tells the World Health Organization’s China office about the cases of an unknown illness. Source: 3
1/1: Wuhan Public Security Bureau brings in for questioning eight doctors who had posted information about the illness on WeChat.
An official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission orders labs, which had already determined that the novel virus was similar to SARS, to stop testing samples and to destroy existing samples. Source: 3
1/1: WHO: “No evidence of significant human-to-human transmission. Does not recommend any specific measures for travelers.” Source: 5
1/2: Chinese researchers map the new coronavirus’ complete genetic information. This information is not made public until Jan. 9. Source: 3
1/3: News breaks of the drone strike death of Qassam Soleimani.
1/3: CDC Director Robert Redfield sent an email to the director of the Chinese CDC, George Gao, formally offering to send U.S. experts to China to investigate the coronavirus. Source: 6
1/4: The head of the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Infection warns that “the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that has infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human.” Source: 2
1/5: CDC Director Redfield sent another email to the Chinese CDC Director, George Gao, formally offering to send U.S. experts to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak Source: 6
1/6: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a “level 1 travel watch — the lowest of its three levels — for China’s outbreak,” according to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. The CDC said the “cause and the transmission mode aren’t yet known, and it advised travelers to Wuhan to avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people.” The CDC also offered to send a team to China, but China declined. Source: 2
1/6: Michael Osterholm from the Univeristy of Minnesota, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology, praises the Chinese authorities for the information they have make public so far.
“This much information this early into an outbreak is a very positive thing,” Osterholm said. “I feel confident at this point that the appropriate public health measures are being taken to both investigate the outbreak and to contain it as much as possible…. And I think hopefully over the next several days it will become much clearer what the [causative] agent is.”
1/7: Xi Jinping becomes involved in the Chinese virus response. Source: 3
1/7: The CDC established a coronavirus incident management system to better share and respond to information about the virus. Source: 6
1/8: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares, “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.” Source: 2
1/8: CDC alerts clinicians to be on the look-out for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China. Source: 1
1/9: China announces it has mapped the coronavirus genome. Source: 3
1/11-17: Important prescheduled CCP meeting held in Wuhan. During that time, the Wuhan Health Commission insists there are no new cases. Source: 3
1/11: China reports its first coronavirus death. Source: 2
1/11: Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said he’s pleased to see that health officials and scientists in China have released as much information as they have. He said the main focus now turns toward identifying the animal species that transmitted nCoV to humans and determining Based on the current reports, there’s no obvious evidence of human-to-human spread yet, Osterholm said, noting that red flags, for example, would be infections in patients’ family members who weren’t at the market and infections in healthcare workers.
1/13: However, while public health officials should remain vigilant, there is no need for undue alarm, Osterholm said, emphasizing that the focus should be on learning from this outbreak to prepare for future ones.
“Panic never works period,” he says. “To me it appears that if anything, [the outbreak] is under control… it seems to be over [in Wuhan] as we haven’t seen any secondary transmission.
“Now the question is, if the market opens up again, what will happen. We need an understanding of what, in fact, was the source, and if that source is likely to come back into contact again with humans?”
1/14: WHO announces Chinese authorities have seen “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” Source: 3
1/14: The WHO announces, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.” Meanwhile, according to The Associated Press, internal Chinese documents show that government officials acknowledged likely human-to-human transmission of coronavirus, and said they were following orders from the president of China to keep it under wraps. Source: 2
1/15: The patient who becomes the first confirmed U.S. case leaves Wuhan and arrives in the U.S., carrying the coronavirus. Source: 3
1/17: CDC announces that 3 airports in the United States would begin screening incoming passengers from China: SFO, JFK, and LAX. Two more airports were subsequently added before the 1/28 announcement of an additional 15. Source: 1
1/17: WHO: “Does not recommend any specific health measures for travelers.” Source: 5
1/18: The Wuhan Health Commission announces four new cases. Also, Annual Wuhan Lunar New Year banquet. Tens of thousands of people gathered for a potluck. Source: 3
1/19: Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan. Source: 3
1/19: The WHO hedges somewhat: “Not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, the clinical features of the disease, the extent to which it has spread, or its source, which remains unknown.” Source: 2
1/20: The first case announced in South Korea. Source: 3
1/20: Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese doctor who is helping to coordinate the coronavirus response, announces the virus can be passed between people. Source: 3
1/20: Dr. Fauci announces the National Institutes of Health is already working on the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus. Source: 6
1/21: CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonier “announced that a few days earlier the CDC had ‘finalized development’ of its test and used it to confirm the first coronavirus infection in the US, a man in Washington State who had traveled from the Wuhon region.”
“In coming weeks, we anticipate sharing these tests with domestic and international partners” she said. “.. we continue to believe of this novel coronavirus to the American public at large remains low at this time.” Source: Washington Post 4/18 “Contamination at CDC lab delayed virus tests’ rollout”
1/21: 1st travel related case in country (Washington State) Source: 1
1/21: CCP flagship newspaper People’s Daily mentions the coronavirus epidemic and Xi’s actions to fight it for the first time. China’s top political commission in charge of law and order warns that “anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of [virus] cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.” Source 3
1/21: WHO: “There is possibility of ‘sustained’ human-to-human transmission of new virus in China” Source: 5
1/22: Trump responds to whether he’s concerned about a possible pandemic, “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” Trump was referring to a resident from Snohomish County, Wash., who came back from China on Jan. 15 and was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Source: 2
1/22: WHO: “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation.” Source: 5
1/23: WHO: “There is now more evidence 2019-nCoV spreads from human-to-human transmission.” Source: 5
1/23: Vox publishes an article stating that travel bans to fight viruses “don’t work.” The article initially referred to the “Wuhan coronavirus,” before being edited weeks later. The article’s URL remains unchanged. Source: 2
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says in a Journal of the American Medical Association podcast that the U.S. wouldn’t implement shutdowns of cities like what was occurring in China: “There’s no chance in the world that we could do that to Chicago or to New York or to San Francisco, but they’re doing it. So, let’s see what happens.” Source: 2
1/23: The CDC sought a “special emergency authorization” from the FDA to allow states to use its newly developed coronavirus test. Source: 6
1/24: Trump tweets in praise of China’s “transparency.” (On April 1, the Biden campaign mocked the president for the tweet, and claimed Biden “publicly” warned Trump not to trust China.) Source: 2
1/24: Politico reports that the Trump administration held a briefing on the coronavirus for senators, but it was “sparsely attended” in part because it “was held on the same day as a deadline for senators to submit their impeachment questions.”
“The initial thought from the Dems, I think, is that we were trying to distract from impeachment,” a GOP Senate aide told Politico. The outlet added that a White House official “recalled feeling surprised at the ‘incredibly’ poor attendance, noting that it came ‘even though the amount of concern expressed then was rather intense.'” Source: 2
1/24–30: China celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday. Hundreds of millions of people are in transit around the country as they visit relatives. Source: 3
1/24: China extends the lockdown to cover 36 million people and starts to rapidly build a new hospital in Wuhan. From this point, very strict measures continue to be implemented around the country for the rest of the epidemic. Source: 3
1/24: 2nd travel related case (Illinois) Source: 1
1/26: “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” Fauci says on The CATS Roundtable. “It isn’t something that the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about.” Source: 2
1/26: Additional travel related cases (1st case in California) Source: 1
1/26: 1st case in Arizona (national case #5) Source: 1
1/26: CNN- China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei made a startling statement Sunday about the Wuhan coronavirus: He said people can spread it before they become symptomatic.
“This is a game changer,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s much harder to contain a virus — to track down a patient’s contacts and quarantine them immediately — if the patient was spreading the disease for days or weeks before they even realized they had it.
“It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,” said Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “This is worse than we anticipated.”
Ma didn’t explain why he thinks the virus can be spread before someone has symptoms. If the Chinese health minister is right — and there are those who doubt him — that means the five confirmed cases in the United States might have been infectious while traveling from Wuhan to Arizona, California, Illinois and Washington state, even if they had no symptoms at the time.
On Sunday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the risk to the American public for contracting this virus continues to be low.
“We at CDC don’t have clear evidence that patients are infectious before symptom onset, but we are actively investigating that possibility,” Messonnier said. “We need to be preparing as if this is a pandemic, but I continue to hope that it is not,” she added.
US health officials believe the Wuhan virus has an incubation period of about two weeks, CDC officials said Friday during a media briefing.
“Based on what we know now about this virus, our concern for transmission before symptoms develop is low, so that is reassuring,” Dr. Jennifer Layden, an epidemiologist with the Illinois Department of Health, said at the Friday briefing.
The update on Sunday from the Chinese health minister should encourage health officials to change that thinking, some infectious disease experts told CNN.
“Assuming that Ma is correct, we’re going to have to re-evaluate our strategy, that’s for sure,” Schaffner said.
Dr. Paul Offit, another longtime CDC adviser, said given Ma’s news, he thinks health officials should alert people on the flights that the three US patients took from Wuhan that they might have traveled with someone who was infectious. “I think the conservative thing to do would be to cast a wider net,” he said.
The United States’ top infectious disease doctor wants a team of CDC disease detectives to go to China and check on these crucial questions about how the Wuhan coronavirus is spreading.
But there’s something stopping them: China first has to invite the CDC. “Up to now, to my knowledge, we have not been invited,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the US National Institutes of Health, said Sunday.
NIH and CDC are separate divisions of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The implications of Ma’s statement that the coronavirus is transmissible before symptoms are so important “that in my mind it’s absolutely critical that we ourselves see the data, because what goes on over there has implications for what happens here,” Fauci said. He added that to his knowledge, the Chinese did not tell US health authorities that the virus could spread before someone is symptomatic, a crucial aspect of any disease investigation. He said he learned about it after reading a CNN reporter’s email. Fauci said that CDC disease detectives would need to see precisely how Chinese health authorities have gathered their data and how they came to their conclusion. “To my knowledge, we have not seen the precise minute, granular data and how they collected it,” he said. “We need to get to the real bottom line of how they collected their data and see if it’s valid.”
“The Chinese have good people. I don’t want to impugn their capabilities,” Fauci added. “But when it’s something as important as this, our people who are trained epidemiologists need to go over their data and the best way to do that is go there and see how they’re collecting it.”
CDC’s Messonnier said Sunday the CDC has staff in China, but the team is not directly involved in the Wuhan coronavirus response. The agency hopes to have “additional engagement” on the outbreak in China in the coming days, she said.
In a tweet on Sunday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “I am on my way to Beijing, [China] to meet with the Government & health experts supporting the #coronavirus response. My @WHO colleagues & I would like to understand the latest developments & strengthen our partnership with [China] in providing further protection against the outbreak.”
Some experts are skeptical because of the lack of data from China.
“I seriously doubt that the Chinese public officials have any data supporting this statement,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “I know of no evidence in 17 years of working with coronaviruses — SARS and MERS — where anyone has been found to be infectious during their incubation period.”
“My gut says we’re going to be able to contain this real quick — we’re going to be able to put a moat around this fire,” said Offit, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “I think this is going to be much more like SARS or MERS than the movie ‘Contagion.'” “But then,” the Philadelphia-based doctor said, “I’m an Eagles fan, so I tend to be optimistic about things.”
1/27: WHO: “Does not recommend any evaluation at the points of entry regarding this event, nor any restrictions on travel or commerce.” Source: 5
1/27: The Biden campaign, including its top coronavirus adviser Ron Klain, praise China for being “transparent” and “candid.” Speaking to Axios, Klain asserts: “I think what you’d have to say about China is, it’s been more transparent and more candid than it has been during past outbreaks, though still there’s problems with transparency and candor.” Even as he says there were “many” areas in which China hasn’t been transparent, Klain asserts that China had helpfully released a “sequence of the virus.” Klain goes on to say there isn’t “any reason” for anyone to postpone essential travel to anywhere except the Wuhan area. In fact, China reportedly destroyed virus samples rather than release them. Source: 2
1/27:Three days before Trump closes off most travel from China, Klain says he opposes that measure. “That’s premature.” Source: 2
“That’s how we broke the infection curve on Ebola. In September 2014, CDC projections warned that over 1 million people could be infected if we failed to act. By February 2015, thanks to the leadership of our administration, the number of new Ebola cases was fewer than 400. A few months later, the epidemic was essentially extinguished.”
1/27: The White House Coronavirus Task Force started meeting to help monitor and contain the spread of the virus and provide updates to the President. Source: 6
1/28: WHO: “Confident in China’s epidemic and control ability.” Source: 5
1/28: CDC issues a Level 3 Warning. Recommending travels avoid all non essential travel to China. Source: 1
1/28: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that 15 additional U.S. airports (bringing the total to 20) would begin screening incoming travelers from China. LAX, SF, O’Hare, JFK, Atlanta, Houston, DFW, SD, SeaTac, Honolulu, Anchorage, MN-St. Paul, Detroit, Miami, Dulles, Philly, Newark, Boston, El Paso, San Juan. Source: 1
1/28: United Airlines announced it would cut 24 flights between the U.S. and China for the first week of February. Source: 1
1/28: CDC Director Robert Redfield to colleagues: “While we believe the 2019-nCoV poses a very serious health threat, the virus in not spreading in the US at this time and the CDC believes the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general American public is low.”
Also indicates Chinese authorities have identified person to person spread.
1/29: WH Advisor Peter Navarro Memo to NSC entitled: “Should the White House Order a Travel Ban to Combat a Potential Coronavirus Pandemic?”
The Jan. 29 memo set out two stark choices: “Aggressive Containment versus No Containment.” Created a matrix of risk/reward based on scenarios.
Navarro compared cost estimates for the choices and wrote that the Council of Economic Advisers’ estimates for stopping travel from China to the U.S. would be $2.9 billion per month. If the virus turned out to be a pandemic, that travel ban could extend 12 months and cost the U.S. $34.6 billion.
Doing nothing (the “No Containment” option) could range from “zero economic costs” to $5.7 trillion depending on the lethality of the virus.
On the high end, he estimated a scenario in which the coronavirus could kill 543,000 Americans.
1/29: American Airlines announced it would suspend flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Beijing from Feb. 9 through March 27, 2020. It will maintain its flight schedules (10 daily A/R) from Dallas-Fort Worth to Shanghai and Beijing, as well as from Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth to Hong Kong. Source: 1
1/29: Shock Video: Zeke Emanuel, later added to Biden Task Force
“I do think we need to put this somewhat into context. Which is… its likely to spread… it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. And we know that there will be people that unfortunately die from this. But, is this likely to break out into some major pandemic around the world? Unlikely. We’re likely to be able to contain it. Obviously it would have been better if we had done some containment earlier on and the Chinese had been a little more open earlier on. But these kinds of things are often hard to figure out about what the right measure is, especially when you don’t know how severe it’s going to be right at the start. But I would put in context we have tens of thousands of people in the United States who die every year from the flu…. Whatever this Coronavirus is, its very, very, very unlikely to be that severe. And yet our response, because its new and novel, tends to be much more histrionic I think than it is… We live with the flu, it’s just the flu but it also kills a lot of people. It may not kill at the same high rate but it does kill tens of thousands of Americans and your chance of getting it from colleagues is low.”
1/30: WHO: Declared a global health emergency over the new virus
“I left in absolute no doubt about China’s commitment to transparency, and to protecting the world’s people.” Source: 5
1/30: President Trump states that the U.S. has the virus “under control” and hosts a campaign rally in Iowa.
“We think we have it very well under control,” states President Trump. “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. So that I can assure you.” Source: 4
1/30: CNN publishes a piece by Brandon Tensley, “Coronavirus task force another example of Trump administration’s lack of diversity.” Tensley, who claims to cover the “intersection of culture and politics,” was unable to offer medical analysis in the article. Source: 2
1/30: US State Dept issues a Level 4: Do not travel to China Alert (the highest level of Alert) Source: 1
1/30: CDC confirms 1st person to person case (Illinois, national case #6) Source: 1
1/30: CDC: “Given what we’ve seen in China and other countries with the novel coronavirus, CDC experts have expected some person-to-person spread in the US,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “We understand that this may be concerning, but based on what we know now, we still believe the immediate risk to the American public is low.” For the general public, no additional precautions are recommended at this time beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Right now, CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. Source: 1
1/30: Declaration by WHO that the coronavirus outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Source: 1
1/31: Trump issues the “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus.” Later in the day, Biden campaigns in Iowa and tells the crowd that Americans “need to have a president who they can trust what he says about it, that he is going to act rationally about it. … This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia – hysterical xenophobia – and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.” Source: 2
1/31: An article in NYT quotes epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm as saying that Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China was “more of an emotional or political reaction.” Source: 2
1/31: Washington Post: Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the process for testing people for the new strain of coronavirus had proved very imprecise so far and that this is one of the reasons for the aggressive U.S. response. He said there was evidence that people who initially tested negative for the virus actually had contracted it. Officials also believe that at least one person, in Germany, has obtained the virus from someone who didn’t exhibit any symptoms. These developments have caused the U.S. government to markedly escalate its response.
“These are extraordinary measures to be implemented at this point,” Ali Khan, former director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the CDC, said of restricting foreign nationals. “We’re a global economy, people move, and if you have excellent public health and you are able to combine port-of-entry screening with follow-up of people, there should be no reason to put undue burdens on people around travel.”
President Trump so far has remained uncharacteristically muted on the coronavirus and praised China’s extraordinary response to the growing outbreak. On Wednesday, he tweeted photos of his Situation Room briefing and said his administration was working closely with China to contain the outbreak.
But even before U.S. officials announced such a drastic escalation in travel restrictions on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the United States for making “unfriendly comments” during the coronavirus outbreak and said a U.S. warning against travel to China went against recommendations made by the World Health Organization to not restrict travel or trade. “In disregard of WHO recommendation against travel restrictions, the US went the opposite way,” the ministry’s spokesman said in English-language messages on Twitter on Friday. “Where is its empathy?”
Even with the Senate in the midst of Trump’s impeachment trial, a number of GOP lawmakers have begun pushing the administration on its response to the virus. The steps the administration announced did not go as far as some wanted.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) called Friday for the administration to issue an outright ban on travel to and from China.
“Given the severity of the coronavirus in China and its rapid spread across the region, as well as the mounting public fear, it’s imperative that this disease is contained,” Cruz said. “The administration should take every precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States, including temporarily halting flights to and from China and implementing additional screening at all U.S. airports.”
1/31: Santa Clara CA Public Health Dept regarding 1/26 1st case in CA: “We understand that this news may be concerning, but based on what we know today, the risk to residents of our community remains low,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer, Santa Clara County. “This news is not unexpected. Santa Clara County has the largest population in the Bay Area, and many of our residents travel for both personal and business reasons.”
Even with news of this case, the risk to the general public remains low because the patient remained at home. Santa Clara County residents, students, workers, and visitors should continue to engage in their regular activities and practice good health hygiene since this is the height of flu season. Healthy people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel. Anyone with respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, or fever, should stay home, practice proper cough etiquette and hand hygiene, and limit their contact with other people. Source: 1
1/31: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared the 2019 novel coronavirus a public health emergency and ordered any US citizens returning from the center of the outbreak in China to be quarantined for two weeks as a precaution Source: 1
1/31: CDC issues Federal quarantine for 14 days affecting 195 American evacuees from Wuhan, China. Source: 1
1/31: President Trump signed an order for the U.S. to deny entry to foreign nationals who traveled to China within the preceding two weeks, aside from the immediate family of U.S. citizens. Source: 1
1/31: Delta, American and United Airlines announce the will temporarily suspend all their mainland China flights. Prior to this announcement, Delta had not adjusted its schedule from the US to China and was the only airline with direct flights to China that had not yet taken action. Source: 1
1/31: NYC health officials vehemently denied the rumor regarding a virus case in the city. Source: 1
1/31: Washington Post: “How our brains make coronavirus seem scarier than it is”
2/1: NYC health commissioner reported that there is a test being performed on a person under 40 who had returned from China, developed matching symptoms, and tested negative for the flu. Source: 1
2/1: Additional travel related case, 1st case in Mass (national case #8) Source: 1
2/1: “Our priority is not only to protect and inform the residents of Boston but also to help this man continue to recover. We are pleased that he is doing well,” said BPHC Executive Director Rita Nieves. “Right now, we are not asking Boston residents to do anything differently. The risk to the general public remains low. And we continue to be confident we are in a good position to respond to this developing situation.”
Although the risk of the coronavirus to Massachusetts residents remains low, people are advised to take many of the same steps they do to help prevent colds and the flu. Source: 1
2/2: U.S. citizens, permanent residents and immediate family who have visited China’s Hubei province will undergo a mandatory 14 days quarantine and, if they have visited other parts of China, they would be screened at airports and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. The last time the CDC had issued a quarantine was over 50 years ago in the 1960s, for smallpox. Source: 1
2/2: “There’s a virus that has infected 15 million Americans across the country and killed more than 8,200 people this season alone,” CNN tweets. “It’s not a new pandemic — it’s influenza.” Source: 2
2/2: New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweets: “As we gear up to celebrate the #LunarNewYear in NYC, I want to assure New Yorkers that there is no reason for anyone to change their holiday plans, avoid the subway, or certain parts of the city because of #coronavirus.” Source: 2
2/5: The Trump Administration and health officials briefed lawmakers on the Federal Government’s coronavirus response efforts. Source: 6
2/5: CNN: A report that suggested Wuhan coronavirus could spread before the onset of symptoms was flawed, according to public health experts.
Chinese officials had previously said that patients can be infectious even if they are not presenting symptoms. An early study on asymptomatic transmission of the virus published last week in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and appeared to confirm Chinese health officials’ assessment. But public health officials now say the report may be flawed.
Interviews with the Chinese patient at the center of the case revealed she may have actually had mild, nonspecific symptoms. The original report said a Shanghai resident came to Germany on a business trip and did not exhibit symptoms of illness while she interacted with several German colleagues. On her return flight to China, she became ill and later tested positive for the novel coronavirus. After her visit, four individuals at the company — two of whom had direct interactions with their Chinese colleague — tested positive for the virus.
In an email to CNN on Tuesday, German public health officials said the report was incorrect.
“In contrast to first reports according to which the index case (a Chinese traveling in Germany) seemed to have been asymptomatic during the time of likely transmission here, recent interviews by the Bavarian health authorities and the Robert Koch Institute in Chinese language revealed that she might have had mild unspecific symptoms including back pain and also took antipyretic medication.”
One of the paper’s authors previously told CNN they relied on interviews with the German patients. “This was likely an error of being inadequately careful by the authors, an error that is understandable in a crisis situation, but is still problematic,” said Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Lipsitch was not involved with the NEJM study.
“Data has circulated that the new coronavirus would be infected throughout the incubation period,” The Public Health Agency of Sweden posted on its website. “This information has not been presented in a way that provides scientifically substantiated facts. Rather, it has emerged that the data is unfortunately based on misconceptions. We believe that it is impossible for the new corona virus to infect throughout the incubation period … This applies, among other things, to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that has subsequently proven to contain major flaws and errors.”
Before German public health officials addressed the report’s flaw, US health officials and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website had cited the research.
“It was not clear whether an asymptomatic person could transmit it to someone while they were asymptomatic. Now we know from a recent report from Germany that that is absolutely the case,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force on Friday.
CNN reached out to the New England Journal of Medicine. Representatives from the medical journal said it is working on a response, “but we’re not yet in a position to make a statement.”
CNN also reached out to Fauci and the CDC and has not yet received a response.
The World Health Organization said in a weekend report that “the main driver of transmission … is symptomatic cases.” The organization said it’s “aware of possible transmission” from asymptomatic individuals in a few instances but said that this may be rare and not a major player in the spread of the virus.
2/5: Senator Schumer: “The premature travel ban to and from China by the current administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing war against immigrants. There must be a check and Balance on those restrictions.”
2/5: 1st case in Wisconsin (national case #12) Source: 1
2/6: The CDC began shipping CDC-Developed test kits for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to U.S. and international labs. Source: 6
2/7: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces that the United States has donated nearly 18 tons of medical supplies to China.
The State Department transports 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China, including masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials. “These donations are a testament to the generosity of the American people,” says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. SOURCE 4
2/7: Barbot strikes again, assuring residents, “We’re telling New Yorkers, go about your lives, take the subway, go out, enjoy life.” City lawmakers have called for Barbot to be fired because of the comments. Source: 2
2/7: DNC Debate: “Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar mentioned China, but only in the context of climate change. Pete Buttigieg said: “The next president is going to face challenges from global health security, like what we’re seeing coming out of China,” but he didn’t frame this as an immediate danger.”
2/9: Mark Levine, the chair of New York City Council health committee and a Democrat, tweets: “In powerful show of defiance of #coronavirus scare, huge crowds gathering in NYC’s Chinatown for ceremony ahead of annual #LunarNewYear parade. Chants of ‘be strong Wuhan!’ If you are staying away, you are missing out!” Source: 2
2/12: The U.S. shipped test kits for the 2019 novel coronavirus to approximately 30 countries who lacked the necessary reagents and other materials. Source: 6
2/12: House of Representatives committee votes to issue a report to the full chamber recommending the NO BAN ACT be considered further. Only about 1 in 4 bills are reported out of committee. This bill had been dormant in Committee since April 10, 2019 and would curtail the President’s ability to ban travel into the US.
2/13: Secretary Azar announces that the government will establish a “surveillance” program in five cities which will then be expanded nationally, but the plan is delayed for weeks. (This is what the original CDC tests were for.)
The plan is supposed to help experts measure the disease and predict next hot spots. “We were flying the plane with no instruments,” one official told the New York Times. The Washington Post reports that the plan would require diagnostic tests produced on a mass scale for rapid deployment. Source: 4
2/13: “There are ZERO confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City, and hundreds of Chinese restaurants that need your business!” the New York City mayor’s office tweets. “There is nothing to fear. Stop by any Chinatown for lunch or dinner!”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio adds: “It was my honor to spend time with our Asian-American owned small businesses in Flushing today. This vibrant community is standing strong but they need YOUR support. Our Chinatowns are open for business — make some dinner plans, do some shopping and stand with our neighbors!”
Klain then praises de Blasio: “We don’t have a #COVIDー19 epidemic in the US but we are starting to see a fear epidemic. Kudos to @NYCMayor (and others) for standing against that.” Source: 2
2/14: The HHS and the National Security Council produce a memo titled “U.S. Government Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”
significantly limiting public gatherings and cancellation of almost all sporting events, performances, and public and private meetings that cannot be convened by phone. Consider school closures. Widespread “stay at home” directives from public and private organizations with nearly 100% telework for some.
President Trump later cancels the meeting with senior HHS and National Security Council officials, when officials intended to present the memo and their recommendation for enhanced mitigation measures. “The White House focused instead on messaging and crucial additional weeks went by before their views were reluctantly accepted by the president — time when the virus spread largely unimpeded,” the New York Times reports. Source: 4
2/14: Azar told CNN that he and CDC director Redfield officially offered to send a CDC team into China on Jan. 6 but still had not received permission for them to enter the country. HHS oversees the CDC.
“Dr. Redfield and I made the offer on January 6th – 36 days ago, 60,000 cases and 1,300 deaths ago,” Azar said. “We made the offer to send the CDC experts in to assist their Chinese colleagues to get to the bottom of key scientific questions like, how transmissible is this disease? What is the severity? What is the incubation period and can there be asymptomatic transmission?”
Days later, the World Health Organization secured permission to send a team that included two U.S. experts. The team visited between Feb. 16th and 24th. By then, China had reported more than 75,000 cases.
2/14: The CDC began working with five labs to conduct “community-based influenza surveillance” to study and detect the spread of coronavirus. Source: 6
2/17: Fauci announces that the risk of coronavirus infection in the U.S. is “miniscule,” according to USA Today. Fauci, one of the top experts in the field and a senior White House coronavirus adviser, also told the paper that people shouldn’t wear masks unless they are contagious. (By April 3, Fauci appeared to endorse national stay-at-home orders.) Source: 2
2/18: In remarks at Joint Base Andrews, Trump states: “I think President Xi is working very hard. As you know, I spoke with him recently. He’s working really hard. It’s a tough problem. I think he’s going to do — look, I’ve seen them build hospitals in a short period of time. I really believe he wants to get that done, and he wants to get it done fast. Yes, I think he’s doing it very professionally. We’re also working with him and helping him, as of the last few days, as you know.” Pressed on whether he trusted China’s coronavirus data, Trump responds, “Look, I know this: President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he’s doing a very good job with a very, very tough situation.” Source: 2
2/19: Iran reports two coronavirus cases — the country’s first. Hundreds of passengers leave the Diamond Princess for the first time since the quarantine. Source: 2
2/19: Trump assures the public against worrying about the coronavirus. Trump states, “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus.” Source: 4
2/19: Dr. Lisa Monaco, later added to the Biden Task Force, compares the virus to the common flu. “I do think that kind of perspective is very important. Governor Cuomo recently said the common flu remains a far greater threat to New Yorkers so it’s important to keep that in perspective.”
2/23: Second Memo from Peter Navarro requesting supplemental appropriation for supplies. Sets out number of masks, etc. needed. He asked for $3B
There is an increasing probability of a full-blown COVID-19 pandemic that could infect as many as 100 million Americans, with loss of life of as many as 1-2 million souls.
To minimize economic and social disruption and loss of life, there is an urgent need for an immediate supplemental appropriation of at least $3B to support efforts at prevention, treatment, inoculation and diagnostics.
This is not a time for penny-pinching or horse trading on the Hill. Uncertainties associated with developing a vaccine and viable treatment options should NOT slow down investments in these high risk, high reward ventures.
In this Administration, we take appropriate risks to protect the public. We move in Trump Time to solve problems. We always skate to where the puck might be- in this case, a full blown pandemic.
Then details what they conservatively need as far a masks, etc. Suggestions they’ll need a billion masks for a 6- month period.
Page 4: “It is critical that vaccine development be supported- the apparent risk averse culture among some members of the Task Force have caused us to already lose precious days.”
2/24: President Trump gives false assurance that the stock market is “starting to look very good” and the coronavirus is “very much under control.” Stock markets decline sharply following news of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” tweets President Trump. “We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Source: 4
2/24: “It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time, to be able to be unified with our community,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tells reporters as she visits San Francisco’s Chinatown. “We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people ‘Come to Chinatown, here we are — we’re, again, careful, safe — and come join us.’” Source: 2
2/25: The first day the CDC told the American public to prepare for an outbreak at home, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of mishandling the epidemic through its “censorship” of medical professionals and media.
2/25: The US Army’s National Center for Medical Intelligence raises the warning level that it is likely and imminent COVID-19 will become a pandemic. A CDC director says that a severely disruptive outbreak is inevitable.
The Army’s medical intelligence center raises its warning that the coronavirus would become a pandemic within 30 days from WATCHCON 2 — a probable crisis — to WATCHCON 1 — an imminent crisis. The warning is provided in an intelligence briefing to the Joint Chiefs of Staff two days later. The center’s analysis is usually shared with defense and health officials, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Source: 4
2/25: A CDC director says that a severely disruptive outbreak is inevitable. And mainland China reports 78,064 cases of coronavirus and 2,715 deaths.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, states that the outbreak is inevitable and may lead to severe disruption to everyday life. She adds that she talked to her own children that morning. “While I didn’t think they were at risk right now, we as a family ought to be preparing for significant disruption to our lives.” Source: 4
2/25: The President’s National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow is asked about Dr. Messonnier’s comments. He tells CNBC, “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight.” “I don’t think it’s going to be an economic tragedy at all,” he adds. He also says he sees no problems with supply and availability of medical equipment. Source: 4
2/25: DNC Debate- Buttigieg was the first Democratic candidate to mention the coronavirus explicitly. His only policy suggestions, if you can call them that, were for the president to “listen to scientists, listen to your own intelligence and coordinate with an international community that this president has alienated because his idea of a security strategy is a big wall.”
CBS’s Gayle King later queried the candidates about closing the border to Americans who’d been exposed to the virus. Ms. Klobuchar vaguely asserted that she would “better coordinate throughout my presidency to be ready for the next pandemic and to prepare for this one” and said she favored “investing in education” because “I know the vaccine is out there in the head of some kid right now in school.”
Mr. Biden rambled about Ebola and establishing an office in the White House to handle pandemics and spoke of increasing funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Sanders said much the same. Tom Steyer briefly mentioned the coronavirus before declaring that “the biggest threat to America right now in terms of our safety of our citizens is climate.”
2/27: HHS Secretary Alex Azar tells lawmakers that it’s unlikely that large numbers of Americans will need to be hospitalized.
“The immediate risk to the public remains low,” says HHS Secretary Alex Azar in testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means. “It will look and feel to the American people more like a severe flu season in terms of the interventions & approaches you will see.” Source: 4
2/28: At a campaign rally, Trump calls Democrats’ criticisms of his coronavirus response “their new hoax.” Biden and other Democrats then falsely accused Trump of calling the virus itself a hoax. Several fact-checkers, including The Washington Post, make clear that Trump was referring to the Democrats’ response to the virus. Source: 2
2/29: Fauci says that Americans do not need to change their daily practices and the current risk is low, but could change. On the Today Show, Dr. Fauci says, “There’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day by day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change.”
Here’s the full exchange:
Question: “So, Dr. Fauci, it’s Saturday morning in America. People are waking up right now with real concerns about this. They want to go to malls and movies, maybe the gym as well. Should we be changing our habits and, if so, how?”
Fauci: “No. Right now, at this moment, there’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day by day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. I’ve said that many times even on this program. You’ve got to watch out because although the risk is low now, you don’t need to change anything you’re doing. When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.”
Question: “Dr. Fauci, quickly, how does this all end?”
Fauci: “You know, it ends if you — it depends on the nature of the outbreak. I mean, this could be a major outbreak. I hope not. Or it could be something that’s reasonably well controlled. At the end of the day, this will ultimately go down. Hopefully we could protect the American public from any serious degree of morbidity or mortality. That’s the reason why we’ve got to do the things that we have in our plan.” Source: 4
2/29: 1st case in Oregon (national case #17) Source: 1
2/29: 1st cases in Washington State (national cases #18-19) Source: 1
3/2: “Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions,” de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, tweets. “Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see ‘The Traitor’ @FilmLinc. If ‘The Wire’ was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.” Source: 2
3/2: President Trump claims that a vaccine will be readily available.
“We’re moving aggressively to accelerate the process of developing a vaccine,” says the President at a coronavirus roundtable meeting. “A lot of good things are happening and they’re happening very fast. I said, ‘Do me a favor, speed it up, speed it up.’ And they will — they’re working really hard and quick.” The president suggests the vaccine may be ready “over the next few months,” but Fauci quickly interjects to say, it would be “a year to a year and a half.”
At a campaign rally in North Carolina that evening, the president says, “We had a great meeting today with a lot of the great companies and they’re going to have vaccines, I think relatively soon. And they’re going to have something that makes you better and that’s going to actually take place, we think, even sooner.”
Earlier in the week, Dr. Fauci had explained: “So although this is the fastest we have ever gone from a sequence of a virus to a trial, it still would not be applicable to the epidemic unless we really wait about a year to a year and a half.” Source: 4
3/3: Vice President Pence announces that the CDC will lift federal restrictions on testing for the coronavirus.
“Today we will issue new guidance from the CDC that will make it clear that any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor’s orders,” informs the Vice President. Source:
3/3Announcement from WHO
Key points: (Emphasis added)
In the past 24 hours, China reported 129 cases, the lowest number of cases since the 20th of January. Outside China, 1848 cases were reported in 48 countries. 80% of those cases are from just three countries: the Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Italy.
12 new countries have reported their first cases, and there are now 21 countries with one case.
We understand that people are afraid and uncertain. Fear is a natural human response to any threat, especially when it’s a threat we don’t completely understand.
But as we get more data, we are understanding this virus, and the disease it causes, more and more.
This virus is not SARS, it’s not MERS, and it’s not influenza. It is a unique virus with unique characteristics.
Both COVID-19 and influenza cause respiratory disease and spread the same way, via small droplets of fluid from the nose and mouth of someone who is sick.
However, there are some important differences between COVID-19 and influenza.
First, COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza, from the data we have so far.
With influenza, people who are infected but not yet sick are major drivers of transmission, which does not appear to be the case for COVID-19.
Evidence from China is that only 1% of reported cases do not have symptoms, and most of those cases develop symptoms within 2 days.
Some countries are looking for cases of COVID-19 using surveillance systems for influenza and other respiratory diseases.
Countries such as China, Ghana, Singapore and elsewhere have found very few cases of COVID-19 among such samples – or no cases at all.
The only way to be sure is by looking for COVID-19 antibodies in large numbers of people, and several countries are now doing those studies. This will give us further insight into the extent of infection in populations over time.
WHO has developed protocols on how these studies should be done, and we encourage all countries to do these studies and share their data.
The second major difference is that COVID-19 causes more severe disease than seasonal influenza.
While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity. That means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease.
Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.
Third, we have vaccines and therapeutics for seasonal flu, but at the moment there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for COVID-19. However, clinical trials of therapeutics are now being done, and more than 20 vaccines are in development.
And fourth, we don’t even talk about containment for seasonal flu – it’s just not possible. But it is possible for COVID-19. We don’t do contact tracing for seasonal flu – but countries should do it for COVID-19, because it will prevent infections and save lives. Containment is possible.
To summarize, COVID-19 spreads less efficiently than flu, transmission does not appear to be driven by people who are not sick, it causes more severe illness than flu, there are not yet any vaccines or therapeutics, and it can be contained – which is why we must do everything we can to contain it. That’s why WHO recommends a comprehensive approach.
These differences mean we can’t treat COVID-19 exactly the same way we treat flu.
But there are enough similarities to mean that countries are not starting from scratch. For decades, many countries have invested in building up their systems to detect and respond to influenza.
Because COVID-19 is also a respiratory pathogen, those systems can, should and are being adapted for COVID-19.
But we are concerned that countries’ abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment – caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse.
Shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons.
We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting our health workers.
Prices of surgical masks have increased six-fold, N95 respirators have more than tripled, and gowns cost twice as much.
Supplies can take months to deliver, market manipulation is widespread, and stocks are often sold to the highest bidder.
WHO has shipped nearly half a million sets of personal protective equipment to 47 countries, but supplies are rapidly depleting.
WHO estimates that each month, 89 million medical masks will be required for the COVID-19 response; 76 million examination gloves, and 1.6 million goggles.
WHO has guidelines on how to rationalize the use of personal protective equipment in health facilities and manage supply chains effectively.
We’re also working with governments, manufacturers and the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to boost production and secure supplies for critically affected and at-risk countries.
Globally, it is estimated that PPE supplies need to be increased by 40 per cent.
We continue to call on manufacturers to urgently increase production to meet this demand and guarantee supplies.
3/4: Barbot, the top New York City health official, declares, “There’s no indication that being in a car, being in the subways with someone who’s potentially sick is a risk factor.” Source: 2
3/4: On CNN, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta downplay the virus.
“The flu right now is far deadlier,” Cooper says. “So if you’re freaked out at all about the coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu, and you can actually do something about it, and get a flu shot.”
“15,000 people roughly have already died of the flu this season,” Gupta responded. “Couple years ago, 60,000 people died of the flu.” Source: 2
3/4: At a Fox News town hall, Bernie Sanders says he would not close the border, even if it were necessary to halt the spread of coronavirus. He then attacked Trump’s “xenophobia.” Source: 2
3/4: Fauci remarks that going to campaign rallies may not be a bad idea: “You know, I can’t comment on campaign rallies. It really depends. We are having as we all said — this is something in motion. This is an evolving thing. So I’m not sure what we’re going to be able to say at the time we’re going to have a campaign rally. If you’re talking about a campaign rally tomorrow, in a place where there is no community spread, I think the judgment to have it might be a good judgment. [But] if you want to talk about large gatherings in a place you have community spread, I think that’s a judgment call, and if someone decides they want to cancel it, I wouldn’t publicly criticize them.” Source: 2
3/5: House of Representatives committee issued a report on the NO BAN ACT, which often provides helpful explanatory background on the issue addressed by the bill and the bill’s intentions. The NO BAN ACT would curtail the ability of the President to ban travel within the US. Source: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr2214
3/6: Dr. Lisa Monaco, later added to Biden Task Force
“It cannot be overstated how much this is about State and Local response.”
“The job of the Federal government is to support the response.”
3/6: Trump claims: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test,” he says to reporters after a tour of the CDC in Atlanta. “That’s what the bottom line is.” Source: 4
3/6: Vice President Pence announces that over 1 million tests have been distributed and promises that 4 million COVID-19 tests would be distributed by the end of the week. Source: 4
3/10: President Trump and VP Pence met with top health insurance companies and secured a commitment to waive co-pays for coronavirus testing. Source: 6
3/11: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares that COVID-19 is a global health pandemic. “This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector,” remarks WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “So every sector and every individual must be involved in the fights. … We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” Source: 4
3/11: Study estimates that by the end of February 2020 there was a total of 114,325 COVID-19 cases in China. It shows that without non-pharmaceutical interventions – such as early detection, isolation of cases, travel restrictions and cordon sanitaire – the number of infected people would have been 67 times larger than that which actually occurred.
The research also found that if interventions in the country could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease. However, if NPIs were conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks later than they were, the number of cases may have shown a 3-fold, 7-fold, or 18-fold increase, respectively.
3/11: Joe Biden puts together Coronavirus Task Force (six weeks after the Trump Admin did)
According to CNBC, the six-member committee includes a number of former Obama administration officials, including former Office of Management and Budget health policy advisor Dr. Zeke Emanuel, former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and former homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco.
Dr. Rebecca Katz, co-director of Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler, and Dr. Irwin Redlener, a professor and disaster preparedness expert at Columbia University’s school of public health, are also on the committee.
3/13: The Food & Drug Administration granted Roche AG an emergency approval for automated coronavirus testing kits and issued an emergency approval to Thermo Fisher for a coronavirus test within 24 hours of receiving the request. Source: 6
3/14: The Trump Administration announced the European travel ban will extend to the UK and Ireland. Source: 6
3/15: HHS announced it is projected to have 1.9 million COVID-19 tests available in 2,000 labs this week. Source: 6
3/15: DNC Debate: on the eve of the first week of our quarantine, many of the questions concerned the coronavirus. This was the first debate which included only Biden and Sanders. At no point during any of the debates did a Democratic candidate suggest that the country should have been locked down or taken other social-distancing measures sooner.
Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors. Now it is time to take yet another drastic step.
The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together. We have to break that cycle. Tomorrow, I will sign an Executive Order limiting restaurants, bars and cafes to food take-out and delivery.
3/16:Imperial College study indicates without in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GBand 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality. For an uncontrolled epidemic, we predict critical care bed capacity would be exceeded as early as the second week in April, with an eventual peak in ICU or critical care bed demand that is over 30 times greater than the maximum supply in both countries.
3/16: The President announces Social Distancing Guidelines to be in place for two-weeks. The Guidelines are subsequently extended through the month of April. Source: 4
3/17: France imposes a nationwide lockdown. European Union leaders agree to mostly seal off the bloc for 30 days. Source: 2
3/18: President Trump signs an Executive Order allowing for use of the Defense Production Act, but the president and vice president make statements suggesting the administration will not use the Act. Source: 4
3/18: Axios Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up
Axios has compiled a timeline of the earliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in China, highlighting when the cover-up started and ended — and showing how, during that time, the virus already started spreading around the world, including to the United States.
Why it matters: A study published in March indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.
This timeline, compiled from information reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the South China Morning Post and other sources, shows that China’s cover-up and the delay in serious measures to contain the virus lasted about three weeks. Source: 3
3/19: The CDC issues updated guidelines instructing medical professionals how to use homemade masks “as a last resort” if PPE is not available.
“In settings where facemasks are not available, [healthcare personnel] might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort,” reads the updated CDC guidance. “However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect [healthcare personnel] is unknown.”
The same day: President Trump states that the responsibility of supplying PPE to medical professionals lies with state governors, not the federal government.
“Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work,” President Trump says at the daily White House briefing. “The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.” Source: 4
3/19: Trump announces hospital ships USS Comfort and Mercy will be “launched over the next week or so.” (emphasis added)
3/20: Rachel Maddow: “There is no sign that the Navy hospital ships that the president made such a big deal of, the Comfort and the Mercy, there is no sign that they’ll be anywhere on-site, helping out anywhere in the country, for weeks yet.”
Maddow allegedly quoting Trump: “One of those ships will be OPERATIONAL in NY Harbor next week.” (Maddow actually misquotes Trump. He said launched, not operational- See 3/19)
3/20: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shut down “non-essential businesses” after millions had gone through the turnstiles. Source: https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/trump-was-getting-things-done-as-ny-leaders-stood-by-when-exponential-surge-of-infections-exploded-on-subways/
3/20: Washington Post reports Trump was getting daily briefings in early January in February warning of a likely pandemic:
-The US intelligence community was warning President Donald Trump about an impending pandemic as early as January, The Washington Post reported.
-Officials were giving Trump classified briefings on the matter at the same time the president was publicly downplaying the risk of the novel coronavirus and insisting the US was well prepared to handle the outbreak.
-“The system was blinking red,” a US official told The Post. “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it.”
3/20: The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense airlift 500,000 swab and sample kits for COVID-19 tests from a private company located in Italy.
The Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense coordinate an airlift of 500,000 swab and sample kits commonly used in COVID-19 diagnostic tests from Copan Diagnostics, a private company located in Italy. Source: 4
3/21: Adm. Giroir confirmed 10 million testing kits had been put into the commercial market from March 2 through March 14 Source: 6
3/22: President Trump announced that the USNS Mercy will be deployed to Los Angeles. Source: 6
March 23-27, 2020: Hospitals report facing severe shortages of testing supplies, widespread shortages of PPE, difficulty maintaining adequate staff, and overall shortages of critical supplies.
Principal Inspector General Christi Grimm at the Department of Health and Human Services surveys 323 hospitals across 46 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico from March 23-27, 2020. Grimm reports that hospitals are facing severe shortages of testing supplies, widespread shortages of PPE, difficulty maintaining adequate staff, and overall shortages of critical supplies. She also finds that in some cases the protective gear that the federal government provided to hospitals was expired or dry-rotted. Source: 4
3/23: Fact checking Dan Crenshaw’s 3/13 tweet:
Crenshaw said in a tweet that longstanding FDA regulations “created barriers to the private industry creating a test quickly” for the coronavirus.
Crenshaw’s statement is accurate. FDA procedures adopted in 2004 meant laboratories had to seek the agency’s approval before developing and using tests in communities, a policy many health care officials have said prevented the country from taking early action in response to the novel coronavirus.
It is important to keep in mind that other factors have contributed to the low levels of testing for the virus, beyond the FDA regulations.
But Crenshaw’s statement is accurate. We rate it True.
3/25: Imperial College study from 3/11 is revised massively downward
Then a funny thing happened. A mere nine days after announcing his model, Ferguson said a better number for the U.K. would be only 20,000. The equivalent would be fewer than 80,000 American deaths. Technically, that U.K. number was buried in a table in the report under what might be called “a fantastic case scenario.” But could that reduction possibly reflect a mere nine days of restrictions? No.
3/26: President Trump announced the USNS Comfort will depart for NYC on Saturday to assist in the coronavirus response – 3 weeks ahead of schedule! Source: 6
3/27: A senior WHO official cuts off an interview after a reporter implies Taiwan, which is not a WHO member state, is independent of China. The official, Canadian doctor Bruce Aylward, initially pretended not to hear the question before terminating the Skype call with the reporter.
3/27: The USNS Mercy arrived in the port of Los Angeles to help relieve the strain on hospital facilities in Southern California. Source: 6
The emergency legislation implements broad ranging remedial measures designed to curb the economic impact of the pandemic. It also modifies the FDA drug approval process, emergency paid sick leave programs, health insurance coverages for COVID-19 testing and vaccination, medical product supplies, and Medicare and Medicaid. Source: 4
3/27: The same day: President Trump issues a statement that he has directed “the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act” to get General Motors to produce ventilators.
GM says that the company is unaware of any order and that the president’s actions do not change plans that were already in the works to produce the ventilators.
The same day: President Trump questions whether state governors truly need the ventilators that they are requesting.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” President Trump tells Fox News Host Sean Hannity. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’” Source: 4
3/29: The first “Project Airbridge” shipment of medical supplies from abroad, organized by FEMA, landed at JFK airport, carrying 80 tons of masks, face shields, and other vital medical supplies. Source: 6
3/30: Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. issue stay-at-home orders, joining other states. In all, approximately 265 million Americans are now under indefinite lockdown. Source: 2
4/2: The Trump administration continues to adopt an approach allowing states to adopt an uneven patchwork of state stay-at-home orders. Multiple states continue to resist implementing stay-at-home orders as the Trump administration continues to reject calling for nationwide stay-at-home orders, but instead says that each governor should decide for themselves.
Note: It is not clear whether a president has the authority under existing federal statutes to adopt a binding nationwide stay-at-home order. Source: 4
4/4: President Trump announced that the U.S. government has repatriated over 40,000 Americans from 75 countries. Source: 6
4/5: Adm. Polowczyk announced that three Project Airbridge flights of medical supplies landed across the US today carrying: 1 million gowns, 2.8 million surgical masks, 11.8 million gloves. Source: 6
4/7: President Trump removes Department of Defense inspector general who was in charge of overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.
President Trump removes Glenn Fine as the chair of the Inspector General of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a committee in charge of overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Fine was nominated to the position by his fellow inspector general colleagues. In response to questions on the matter, President Trump insinuates that there are a lot of inspector generals left over from the Obama administration and that there are reports of bias.
Note: Glenn Fine was first appointed as Inspector General of the Department of Justice by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and served in that capacity through both the Bush and Obama administrations.
The same day: President Trump threatens to withhold money from the WHO. He also suggests that the WHO may have adverse political motivations and is “China-centric.” Source: 4
4/8: ABC News reports US intelligence officials had been tracking COVID-19 since November
US intelligence officials were warning as far back as late November that the novel coronavirus was spreading through China’s Wuhan region and posing a threat to its people and daily life, according to ABC News.
The US military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) compiled a November intelligence report in which “analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event,” one of the sources of the NCMI’s report told ABC News.
The source told ABC News that the intelligence report was then briefed “multiple times” to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House.
Repeated briefings were held through December across the US government, including the National Security Council, culminating in a detailed outline of the threat in the President’s Daily Brief in early January, according to ABC News, whose report cited four sources briefed on the matter.
The Trump administration has faced criticism for not responding quickly enough to contain the novel coronavirus in the US, which now has the most confirmed cases globally. The intelligence report is the latest indication that the Trump administration had prior warning of the virus well before the first case was confirmed in the US in late January and further undercuts President Donald Trump’s claims that the crisis was an unforeseen and unexpected problem.
4/9: DNI refutes ABC News story about briefings since November
“However, in the interest of transparency during this current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct. No such NCMI product exists,” Day added.
4/13: CDC head on Today Show Once CDC saw community spread on Feb 28th, the CDC did in fact recommend mitigation steps… DIRECTLY TO THE STATES SHOWING PROBLEMS. This put the onus of the response where it should have been, on the states themselves w the Feds acting as a backstop. Source: https://twitter.com/phillyrich1/status/1249659261606596609?s=20
4/13: Vice President Pence announced that there are currently just under 7,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and that no one has been denied a ventilator who needed one.
4/14: Trump halts WHO funding
“We will continue to engage with the WHO to see it can make meaningful reforms. For the time being, we will redirect global health … and we’ll be discussing with other countries and influential global health partners what we do with all that money that goes to the WHO.”
4/18: “CDC made its test in one of its laboratories, rather than in its manufacturing facilities,” the FDA spokesperson told CNN on Saturday. “CDC did not manufacture its test consistent with its own protocol.”
The government has never fully explained what stalled the rollout of a crucial test needed to begin measuring the extent of the spread of Covid-19. It would take until the end of February to correct and the US continues to lack extensive testing capability even as some states prepare ease up on restriction and reopen to a degree.