What is the COVID-19 timeline?

COVID-19 timeline

A comprehensive timeline of the new coronavirus pandemic, from China's first COVID-19 case to the present
Dec 31st, 2019Dec 31
Chinese Health officials inform the WHO about a cluster of 41 patients with a mysterious pneumonia. Most are connected to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.Details

Though the first 41 cases were reported December 31, scientists determined that the virus could have started spreading from person to person as early as late November.

Case studies of how the virus has spread showed that the large gathering of people at the live animal market may have “boosted” the transmission of the virus among more people, researchers said.

Researchers think the new coronavirus originated in bats, then jumped to an intermediary species – most likely pangolins, pigs, or civets – that passed it to people. It can be spread among humans via respiratory droplets within six feet. The viruses can also survive for days on many surfaces.

The virus’ pneumonia-like symptoms include fever and difficulty breathing.

Jan 1st, 2020Jan 01
Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market closes.Details

Wuhan authorities banned the trade of live animals at all wet markets soon after the first cases. China also announced a temporary national ban on the buying, selling, and transportation of wild animals in markets, restaurants, and online marketplaces across the country – a ban later made permanent.

Farms that breed and transport wildlife to wet markets were also quarantined and shut down.

Jan 7th, 2020Jan 07
Chinese authorities identify a new type of coronavirus (called novel coronavirus or nCoV).Details

Viruses in the coronavirus family can cause the common cold, pneumonia, and SARS.

Jan 11th, 2020Jan 11
China records its first death.Details

The first person to die was a 61-year-old man who was a frequent customer at the Huanan market.

Jan 13th, 2020Jan 13
First coronavirus case outside of China is reported in Thailand.Details

A 61-year-old female tourist in Thailand was diagnosed on January 13. She’d recently spent time in Wuhan, China.

Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea also began to closely screen passengers for fever.

Jan 20th, 2020Jan 20
First US case is reported: a 35-year-old man in Snohomish County, Washington.Details

The man was evacuated from Wuhan, China, and landed back at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 15. Though he initially showed no symptoms, he reported to an urgent care clinic with symptoms of pneumonia on January 19. He was diagnosed with the virus a day later.

Jan 23rd, 2020Jan 23
Wuhan is placed under quarantine, Hubei province follows within days.Details

Though Wuhan has a population of 11 million residents, population estimates for the surrounding province placed the full lockdown at 60 million residents. This made China’s action the largest quarantine in history.

Jan 30th, 2020Jan 30
WHO declares a global public-health emergency.Details

The WHO’s determination of “global public-health emergency”has been around since 2005 and been used only five times before.

Those five include the Ebola outbreak that started in 2013 in West Africa; another one that’s been ongoing in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2018; the 2016 Zika epidemic; polio emerging in war zones in 2014; and the swine-flu pandemic in 2009.

The WHO’s determination of “global public-health emergency”has been around since 2005 and been used only five times before.

Jan 31st, 2020Jan 31
President Trump bans foreign nationals from entering the US if they were in China within the prior two weeks.
Feb 2nd, 2020Feb 02
First death outside China is recorded in the Philippines.
Feb 8th, 2020Feb 08
US citizen dies in Wuhan – first death of an American citizen.Details

The US citizen was 60 years old, according to the United States Embassy in Beijing, but little else is immediately known about the American.

Feb 9th, 2020Feb 09
Death toll in China surpasses that of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, with 811 deaths recorded.Details

Both SARS and the new coronavirus come from the same family of viruses, and they share 80% of their genetic codes.

SARS emerged in Guangdong and infected 8,098 people globally over the course of eight months from 2002-2003, killing 774. Just a month after the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, the total global case count surpassed that of SARS. On February 9, the death toll from COVID-19 in China alone exceeded the total number of people killed worldwide by SARS.

The new coronavirus killed nearly three times as many people in eight weeks than SARS did in eight months.

Feb 11th, 2020Feb 11
WHO announces that the new coronavirus disease will be called "COVID-19".Details

“We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual, or group of people,” WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a press briefing.

WHO also wanted a name that was “pronounceable and related to the disease,” he added.

Feb 12th, 2020Feb 12
Coronavirus cases start to spike in South Korea.Details

As China’s number of new cases began to stabilise, South Korea’s began to soar.

The Korean CDC believed that a 61-year-old female member of the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus, known as “Patient 31,” triggered a “superspreader” event at the church’s Daegu branch. She refused to be tested in hospital despite presenting symptoms, and coming into close contact with more than 1,000 churchgoers at several tightly packed services.

On February 23, South Korean president Moon Jae-in warned that the country faced “a grave turning point” in its efforts to contain the outbreak.

South Korea implemented widespread testing as a response measure. The country soon began conducting as many as 10,000 tests per day and built drive-through testing clinics that can detect coronavirus cases in just 10 minutes. Officials said the clinics reduced testing time by a third.

As of April 1, South Korea has tested more than 420,000 people for the new coronavirus and confirmed nearly 10,000 cases.

Feb 12th, 2020Feb 12
A Chinese tourist who tested positive died in France, becoming Europe’s first death.
Feb 19th, 2020Feb 19
Iran outbreak begins.Details

With about 18,400 confirmed coronavirus cases, Iran is currently the third most-affected country in the world outside mainland China and Italy.

All of the country’s schools and universities closed down February 23, along with many movie theatres and cultural centres.

Neighbouring countries like Turkey and Pakistan also closed their borders with Iran. Iraq has also imposed an entry ban on any incoming Iranians.

The country released 54,000 prisoners to prevent outbreaks in its prisons.

According to Reuters, 23 members of Iran’s parliament – 8% – developed the coronavirus, as well. One member, Fatemeh Rahbar, a conservative lawmaker from Tehran, died.

About 1,300 people have died.

The Iranian government has been accused of covering up the scale of the coronavirus and censoring the media’s reporting on the outbreak. It also threatened the death penalty to those who hoard necessary materials or equipment.

Feb 21st, 2020Feb 21
Italy outbreak begins.Details

The country’s coronavirus caseload has skyrocketed – more than 110,000 people have been infected. It overtook China as the country with the most coronavirus cases at the end of March, but the US has since surpassed it.

Italy also has the world’s highest death toll: more than 13,100.

Feb 29th, 2020Feb 29
US reports first death on American soil.Details

The US’s first publicly confirmed death related to the coronavirus was a man in his 50s who had chronic underlying health issues. He died at EvergreenHealth, a hospital in King County, Washington.

The US has reported more than 13,000 coronavirus cases across all 50 states and Washington, DC. COVID-19 has also spread to Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and other territories.

More than 175 people in the US have died from the coronavirus, with Washington state leading the death toll. Due to its population density and cosmopolitan makeup, though, New York is soon expected to lead in cases and deaths.

Mar 3rd, 2020Mar 03
Coronavirus cases begin to sharply increase in Spain, marking the start of its outbreak.Details

Spain passed 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 31. The country also has the world’s second-highest death toll: more than 9,000.

Mar 8th, 2020Mar 08
Italy places all 60 million residents on lockdown.Details

The country initially saw two regions near Milan and Venice in the north become hotspots for cases, and locked down almost a dozen town in them on February 23, affecting an estimated 50,000 people.

The country’s leadership shut down schools, museums, and public venues, and discouraged large gatherings.

On March 9, the government expanded the coronavirus restriction zone to encompass the entire nation. All stores closed, save for grocery markets and pharmacies.

The whole country, home to over 60 million people, was put on lockdown.

Mar 11th, 2020Mar 11
WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic.Details

The WHO made the designation is based on the geographic spread of the disease, the severity of illnesses it causes, and its effects on society.

“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters at a press briefing announcing the determination in Geneva on March 11.

Mar 11th, 2020Mar 11
President Trump bans all travel from 26 European countries.Details

President Donald Trump announced a ban on travel from many European countries and the US in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The ban came into effect on March 13 night for 26 European countries. The UK and Ireland were later added. However, the ban does not stop US citizens and some other groups from entering the country from Europe.

The ban has caused crowds and long wait times at airports across the country.

Mar 13th, 2020Mar 13
A US national emergency is declared over the novel coronavirus outbreak.Details

The declaration, made by President Trump, triggered the Stafford Act and allowed for more federal aid to states and municipalities. Trump said that his decision would open up access to $US50 billion in aid money for US states and territories.

Meanwhile, Congress passed a roughly $US2 trillion stimulus package to boost the economy amid the pandemic.

Mar 17th, 2020Mar 17
A leaked federal plan warns the new coronavirus pandemic "will last 18 months or longer" and may come in "multiple waves" of infections.Details

The New York Times reported it had seen a 100-page federal plan, marked “For Official Use Only // Not For Public Distribution or Release,” to tackle the ongoing pandemic.

The plan’s forecast was dire. As Business Insider’s Rosie Perper wrote, the plan reportedly said product shortages could exacerbate the current situation, “impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure.”

It also allegedly said there may be “potentially critical shortages” of staffing, diagnostic capabilities, and medical supplies, including personal protective equipment and pharmaceuticals, until an effective vaccine is developed.

Mar 19th, 2020Mar 19
China reports no new locally spread infections for the first time since the pandemic began.
Mar 23rd, 2020Mar 23
New York City confirms 21,000 cases, making it the biggest epicenter of the outbreak in the US.Details

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on March 21 that – following a dramatic increase in processing COVID-19 tests – the state was reckoning with a significant rise in the number of coronavirus cases, the majority of which were identified in residents younger than 60.

Mar 26th, 2020Mar 26
Total confirmed cases in the US reach 82,404 — the highest in the world — surpassing China's 81,782 and Italy's 80,589.
Mar 31st, 2020Mar 31
More than 1/3 of humanity is under some form of lockdown.Details

India, China, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, and the UK have implemented the world’s largest and most restrictive mass quarantines.

Of particular note is Moscow, Russia. After reporting relatively low numbers of COVID-19 cases compared to other nearby countries, Moscow – a major hub of international travel and migrant workers – restricted the movements of about 11.5 million residents on March 29.

Russia also began emergency construction on a 500-bed hospital about 31 miles (50 kilometers) from the city’s centre.

Apr 2nd, 2020Apr 02
The world passes 1 million COVID-19 infections.
Apr 7th, 2020Apr 07
US reports the highest single-day death toll for any country: more than 1,900.
Apr 7th, 2020Apr 07
Roughly 95% of all Americans are under lockdown, as 42 states issue stay-at-home orders.Details

As coronavirus cases grew within the borders of several states, governors took the unprecedented steps of issuing “stay at home” orders. “Stay at home” orders mean that residents should avoid going outside except for essential services – going to buy food or medicine – and if they work in critical sectors.

The states with stay-at-home orders include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The list of cities with local orders includes Edmond, Stillwater, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman, Oklahoma; Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah; and Jackson, Wyoming.

Together, this put about 95% of Americans under some kind of sheltering order.

Apr 10th, 2020Apr 10
The global death toll surpasses 100,000.
Apr 11th, 2020Apr 11
The number of Americans that filed for unemployment since mid-March hits 22 million.Details

That means, in just four weeks, coronavirus-associated layoffs have erased more than a decade of record job creation in the US.

“We wiped that out so fast,” Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, previously told Business Insider. “It’s mind-boggling.”

Apr 12th, 2020Apr 12
President Donald Trump orders a halt on $400 million in funding for WHO.Details

During a White House press conference, Trump blamed the WHO for “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” and said the US would end its annual contribution – which was $US418 million in 2018 – to the organisation.

“The WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion,” Trump said.

But Jack Chow, a former WHO assistant director-general, previously told Business Insider that cutting WHO funding would be a “profound mistake.”

He said such defunding could mean “the pandemic could last for many more months, even years, longer, and could even become permanent among human populations.”

Apr 15th, 2020Apr 15
The number of global COVID-19 cases surpasses 2 million.Details

The global number of known cases has grown by about 70,000-100,000 daily since April 5, when the case total hit 1 million.

Apr 20th, 2020Apr 20
US protesters hold anti-lockdown rallies linked to the Trump administration, despite the executive branch's official guidance to practice social distancing.Details

Reporting by multiple outlets found multiple links between President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, as well as cabinet members, and protests against stay-at-home orders in multiple states. Trump also tweeted to his followers to “LIBERATE” various states.

Many who rallied were photographed not wearing face masks or respecting White House social-distancing guidelines.

Apr 21st, 2020Apr 21
A person in California was found to have died from COVID-19 on Feb. 6 — three weeks earlier than what authorities figured was the first American pandemic death.Details

Santa Clara county in Northern California found through autopsies that three people who died in their homes on February 6 and 17, and March 6, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Before these cases were identified, officials thought that a fatality reported in Washington state on February 29 was the earliest U.S. death from the novel coronavirus.

Apr 22nd, 2020Apr 22
US reports the highest single-day death toll for any country: more than 2,600.
Apr 27th, 2020Apr 27
White House rolls out roadmap for daily diagnostic testing, which calls for testing far lower than independent reopening plans.
May 3rd, 2020May 03
US reports the highest single-day death toll for any country: more than 2,900.
May 11th, 2020May 11
Several countries, such as Spain, Iran, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, and Thailand, have begun to ease their lockdown restrictions.
May 21st, 2020May 21
The number of global COVID-19 cases surpasses 5 million.

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