Troia Eye
236 min readMay 7, 2020


Part 1

A Chronological History of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Viral diseases continue to emerge and represent a serious issue to public health. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses named for the crown-like spikes on the virus surface (corona is the Latin word for crown). The coronaviruses are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats that can cause illnesses ranging widely in severity. There are presently seven coronaviruses that are known to infect humans. People commonly are infected with the human coronaviruses 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. Animal coronaviruses that evolve and are transmitted to people to become a new human coronavirus are referred to as zoonotic. Three recent examples of this are SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2.

In the last eighteen years, there have been several viral epidemics. The first known severe human illness caused by a coronavirus emerged with the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) epidemic in China. (COVID-03). A second outbreak of severe illness began in 2012 in Saudi Arabia with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

A novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak began in November-December 2019. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and has since spread globally, resulting in an ongoing pandemic.

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of the illness it causes. People with COVID-19 have a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. This list below does not include all possible symptoms. Check the Center for Disease (CDC) website for updates to this list.

Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting

If someone is showing any of the following signs, seek emergency medical care immediately. Call 911 and notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19. This list is not all possible symptoms. Please contact your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Trouble breathing
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the world’s health organizations commit extensive resources into the understanding, treatment, transmission, and prevention of this lethal pathogen, this article reviews and updates the published information released daily.

April 2003

August 2005

  • August 22, 2005: A Virology Journal research article concluded that Chloroquine is effective in preventing the spread of SARS CoV in cell culture. Favorable inhibition of virus spread was observed when the cells were either treated with chloroquine before or after SARS CoV infection. Also, the indirect immunofluorescence assay represents a simple and rapid method for screening SARS-CoV antiviral compounds.

January 2006

Preparing for a Pandemic Influenza

January 2012

October 2012

  • October 9, 2012: How can scientists safely conduct avian flu research if the results could potentially threaten, as well as save, millions of lives? “The scientific community and the greater society that it serves are currently engaged in a vigorous debate on whether and how to carry out experiments that could provide essential information for preparedness against a pandemic of avian influenza. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases contributes his voice as a representative of an organization that is a key funder of influenza research. Although Fauci acknowledges that the benefits of gain-of-function research outweigh the risks, he argues that scientists have yet to fully meet their responsibility for engaging the public in weighing these matters and making the case for proceeding. He outlines how the U.S. government plans to augment policy guidelines related to “dual-use research of concern” like the experiments on enhanced influenza transmission.

June 2014

Anthrax skin lesion.

July 2014

  • July 1, 2014: Gain-of-Function (GoF) studies or research involves experimentation that aims to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. The Gain of Function life-threatening risks fall into two categories: namely, biosecurity and biosafety. Biosecurity risk is the likelihood that an antagonist or hostile would use products or information gained from GoF experiments that led to an enhanced pathogenic virus to carry out intentional harm through bioterrorism. Biosafety risk is the likelihood of an accidental escape that could trigger an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic.

October 2014

The Obama White House announced that it is halting all federal funding for Gain-of-Function (GoF) studies that alter a pathogen to make it more transmissible or deadly so that experts can work out a U.S. government-wide policy for weighing the risks.

  • October 17, 2014: Federal officials are also asking the handful of researchers doing ongoing work in viral research to agree to a voluntary moratorium. The “pause on funding,” applies to “any new studies … that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route.” The government also “encourages those currently conducting this type of work — whether federally funded or not — to voluntarily pause their research while risks and benefits are being reassessed.” Research and testing of naturally occurring forms of these pathogens will continue.

April 2015

  • April 22, 2015: A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of cloth masks to medical masks in hospital healthcare workers (HCWs). The null hypothesis is that there is no difference between medical masks and cloth masks. This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.

September 2015

  • September 2, 2015: In a recent study, Yoshihiro Kawaoka’s team randomly mutated the genes in the backbone of the virus to create a large library of variants and then tested them with a wide variety of different surface proteins. As the investigators explain online today in Nature Communications, they found a novel backbone that dramatically increased the yield of the viruses, both in eggs and mammalian cells — in some cases more than 200-fold. The researchers did extensive studies to unravel the molecular mechanisms that led to improved replication, but they came up with more hints than clear-cut answers. Kawaoka’s group conducted its study in part with funding from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Last October, the U.S. government paused funding of all GOF experiments with influenza that could be “reasonably anticipated” to increase transmissibility or pathogenicity and asked researchers to halt ongoing work. But NIAID Director Anthony Fauci says “it is very likely” that Kawaoka’s group would have been granted an exemption and continued to receive funding because the study specifically aims to improve vaccines against influenza. “In the past, we have granted exemptions for similar studies,” Fauci says. He notes that the new study is especially relevant because it worked in mammalian cells, which ultimately are a better way to grow the virus than eggs: It’s a faster production system and avoids mutations that occur when the virus adapts to chicken eggs, which can compromise vaccine effectiveness.

November 2015

June 2016

  • June 2, 2016: A USA Today investigation revealed an incident involving cascading equipment failures in a decontamination chamber as U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers tried to leave a biosafety level 4 lab. The lab likely stored samples of the viruses causing Ebola and smallpox, according to the report.

January 2017

December 2017

April 2018

Overhead far-ultraviolet C light. Credit: CUIMC

May 2018

February 2019

August 2019

  • August 25, 2019: In 2019, the U.S. Army Fort Detrick, Maryland Biological Weapons Lab was temporarily shut down for improper disposal of dangerous pathogens, according to a New York Times report. Officials refused to provide details about the pathogens or the leak, citing “national security” concerns.

November 2019

December 2019

Wuhan, China.

January 2020

Wuhan Seafood Market closed
  • January 1, 2020: World Health Organization (WHO) set up the Incident Management Support Team (IMST) across the three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters, and country-level moving the organization into an emergency mode for dealing with a major disease outbreak.
  • January 3, 2020: Dr. Li Wenliang was called to a local police station in Wuhan and reprimanded for “spreading rumors online” and “severely disrupting social order” over the message he sent in the chat group. Li had to sign a statement acknowledging his “misdemeanor” and promising not to commit further “unlawful acts.” From the start, the Chinese authorities wanted to control information about the outbreak, silencing any voices that differed with their narrative — regardless of whether they were telling the truth. “The internet is not land beyond the law … Any unlawful acts of fabricating, spreading rumors, and disturbing the social order will be punished by police according to the law, with zero tolerance,” said a police statement on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.

“The internet is not land beyond the law … Any unlawful acts of fabricating, spreading rumors, and disturbing the social order will be punished by police according to the law, with zero tolerance,” said a police statement on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.

  • January 3, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Director Robert Redfield, was notified by a counterpart in China that a “mysterious respiratory illness was spreading in Wuhan [China]”. Redfield notified HHS Secretary Alex Azar shortly thereafter, who shared his report with the National Security Council (NSC).
  • January 4, 2020: WHO reported on social media that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases, with no deaths, in Wuhan, Hubei province.
  • January 5, 2020: WHO published the first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus. This is a flagship technical publication to the scientific and public health community as well as global media. It contained a risk assessment and advice and reported on what China had told the organization about the status of patients and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.
  • January 5, 2020: China announces that the unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan are not SARS or MERS. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission says a retrospective probe into the outbreak has been initiated.

China announces that the unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan are not SARS or MERS.

  • January 5, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a “pneumonia of unknown cause” in Wuhan, China. The WHO advised against travel or trade restrictions to Chine at the time.
  • January 6, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director offered in a letter to Chinese officials to send a team of CDC scientists to assist China. China rebuffed the offer for weeks, turning away assistance and depriving U.S. authorities of an early chance to get a sample of the virus, critical for developing diagnostic tests and any potential vaccine. China impeded the U.S. response in other ways, including by withholding accurate information about the outbreak. Beijing had a long track record of downplaying illnesses that emerged within its borders, an impulse that U.S. officials attribute to a desire by the country’s leaders to avoid embarrassment and accountability with China’s 1.3 billion people and other countries that find themselves in the pathogen’s path.
  • January 6–8, 2020: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues travel warnings for Americans wishing to go to China to take extra precautions. It also says it is closely monitoring the virus, but there are no known cases in the US.
  • January 7, 2020: Chinese President Xi Jinping recognized viral pneumonia internally during a meeting of China’s highest council.
  • January 7, 2020: Chinese authorities confirm that they have identified the virus as a novel (new) type of coronavirus, initially named 2019-nCoV by the WHO.
  • January 7, 2020: The DNA sequence for the novel coronavirus was not shared with the U.S by China until January 7, 2020, almost three years after Trump was inaugurated.
  • January 7, 2020: The U.S. CDC established a coronavirus incident management system to better share and respond to information about the virus.
  • January 8, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first public alert about the coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first public alert about the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tweeted that “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.”

  • January 14, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) notes there may have been a limited human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus and there is a risk of a possible wider outbreak.
  • January 14, 2020: WHO officials gave conflicting signals about whether there is a human-to-human transmission. At a press conference in Geneva, Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO’s emerging diseases unit told a Reuters reporter: “From the information that we have there may be a limited human-to-human transmission, potentially among families, but it is very clear right now that we have no sustained human-to-human transmission.” However, that same day WHO tweeted a different take, stating that “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” and also told an NPR reporter that Van Kerkhove had been misunderstood and there was, in fact, no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
  • January 14, 2020: WHO’s technical lead for the response noted in a press briefing there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus (in the 41 confirmed cases), mainly through family members, and that there was a risk of a possible wider outbreak. The lead also said that human-to-human transmission would not be surprising given our experience with SARS, MERS and other respiratory pathogens.
  • January 14, 2020: The head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, confidentially provided a “grim” situation assessment to key Chinese health officials. The related memo stated that “human-to-human transmission is possible.”
  • January 14, 2020: Top Chinese officials determined they likely were facing a pandemic, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press. In the following days, Wuhan hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people.
  • January 15, 2020: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds a vote to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate. Pelosi and House Democrats celebrate the “solemn” occasion with a signing ceremony, using commemorative pens.
  • January 15, 2020: The first person with coronavirus in the United States arrives from China, where he had been in Wuhan.

The first person with coronavirus in the United States arrives from China, where he had been in Wuhan.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first U.S. case of coronavirus at a clinic in Snohomish County, Washington.

  • January 21, 2020: The new coronavirus has killed six people in China. There are also confirmed cases in Japan and South Korea.
  • January 22, 2020: WHO mission to China issued a statement saying that there was evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan but more investigation was needed to understand the full extent of transmission.
  • January 22, 2020: WHO could not warn the world of the severity of COVID-19 because of resistance from Beijing citing “divergent views.”
  • January 22, 2020: President Trump says at a news conference that the US has coronavirus “totally under control. It is one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
  • January 22–23, 2020: The WHO Director-General convened an Emergency Committee (EC) under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) to assess whether the outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern. The independent members from around the world could not reach a consensus-based on the evidence available at the time. They asked to be reconvened within 10 days after receiving more information.
  • January 23, 2020: China placed Wuhan city under quarantine and two days later the entire Hubei province was locked down. The Chinese state machinery was harnessed to enforce an unprecedented quarantine on 50 million people across 15 cities. In the last week of January domestic flights from Hubei to other parts of China were stopped and restrictions on traffic movement in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai were initiated.
  • January 23, 2020: The U.S. House of Representatives impeachment managers make their opening arguments for removing President Trump.
  • January 23, 2020: The Beijing Culture and Tourism Bureau cancels all large-scale Lunar New Year celebrations to contain the growing spread of coronavirus. On the same day, Chinese authorities enforce a partial lockdown of transport in and out of Wuhan. Authorities in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou Huanggang announce a series of similar measures. China locked down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million, including the city of Wuhan in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus during the upcoming and busy Lunar New Year travel period. Roads are severely restricted and rail and air services are suspended. Foreign governments begin to make plans to evacuate their citizens from China.
  • January 23, 2020: At an emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization. The WHO says that the coronavirus does not yet constitute a public health emergency of international concern. The World Health Organization declined to categorize the coronavirus as a global health emergency, saying there is no evidence of human-to-human infection outside China. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement that it was too early to declare the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. “Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”
  • January 24, 2020: First cases appear in Europe. Health officials confirm the first three cases in France.
  • January 24, 2020: In China, the Lunar New Year holiday began. Public transportation halted for roughly 36 million people in 13 cities in central China, including Wuhan. Authorities in Wuhan said they were constructing a 1,000-bed hospital like one built in Beijing during a SARS outbreak, a similar respiratory virus.
  • January 24, 2020: President Donald Trump thanked China on Twitter for its efforts to contain the disease. “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” he said in a post.
  • January 24, 2020: U.S. Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., urged the Trump administration to declare a public health emergency and sent a letter to the CDC requesting information about the agency’s plan to combat the virus. “We have to get serious about the threat of coronavirus coming from China,” Scott said in a press release.
  • January 24, 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, comments on the risk to Americans. “We don’t want the American public to be worried about this because their risk is low,” Fauci said. “On the other hand, we are taking this very seriously and are dealing very closely with Chinese authorities.”
  • January 24, 2020: Many health professionals argued that the flu poses a greater threat than the coronavirus.
  • January 24, 2020: Analysis of the first 41 Covid-19 patients in the medical journal the Lancet found that 27 patients had direct exposure to the Wuhan market, but the first known case of the illness did not.
  • January 25, 2020: U.S. President Donald Trump has wrapped a two-day state visit to India. Speaking in New Delhi, President Donald Trump responded to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer for criticizing his coronavirus response. “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!” President Donald Trump said the novel coronavirus was “very well under control” in the US and that most people infected with the virus are “getting better.” Trump expressed optimism that the “whole situation will start working out.” Trump said his administration was putting “a lot of talent, brainpower” behind combatting coronavirus. The U.S. has only 53 confirmed cases of the virus; 39 of those have been patients repatriated to the country. Trump said he’d discussed the situation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their talks, and that India doesn’t have much of a problem with the virus.
  • January 27, 2020: The White House is developing a special task force to deal with the emerging threat of coronavirus.
  • January 28, 2020: The coronavirus that has spread from Wuhan has been linked to the sale of live wildlife at a market that experts describe as a perfect incubator for novel pathogens. The typical market in China has fruits and vegetables, butchered beef, pork and lamb, whole plucked chickens — with heads and beaks attached — and live crabs and fish, spewing water out of churning tanks. Some sell more unusual fare, including live snakes, turtles, and cicadas, guinea pigs, bamboo rats, badgers, hedgehogs, otters, palm civets, even wolf cubs. The markets are fixtures in scores of Chinese cities, and now, for at least the second time in two decades, they are the source of an epidemic that has spread fear, taxed the Communist Party bureaucracy and exposed the epidemiological risks that can spawn in places where humans and wildlife converge. “This is where you get new and emerging diseases that the human population has never seen before,” said Kevin J. Olival, a biologist and vice president of research with EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit research organization, who has tracked previous outbreaks. While the exact path of the pathogen has not yet been established, government officials and scientists said the new contagion had ominous similarities with the outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, in late 2002, which killed nearly 800 people and sickened thousands more around the world.
A market in Shenzhen, China, in 2016. Chinese markets have now been linked to the spread of a novel virus twice in two decades. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
  • January 28, 2020: A senior World Health Organization (WHO) delegation led by the Director-General traveled to Beijing to meet China’s leadership, learn more about China’s response, and to offer any technical assistance. Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom in Beijing. At the meeting, Xi and the WHO agree to send a team of international experts, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff, to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak. While in Beijing, Dr. Tedros agreed with Chinese government leaders that an international team of leading scientists would travel to China on a mission to better understand the context, the overall response, and exchange information and experience.
  • January 28, 2020: Alex Azar II, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and chairperson of the coronavirus task force, told reporters during a press briefing that the U.S. has “been monitoring this virus and preparing a response since back in December.”
  • January 29, 2020: Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said, “The whole world needs to be on alert now. The whole world needs to take action and be ready for any cases that come from the epicenter or other epicenter that becomes established.”
  • January 29, 2020: Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the formation of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. Members of the Task Force have been meeting on a daily basis since Monday. At today’s meeting, which the President chaired, he charged the Task Force with leading the United States Government response to the novel 2019 coronavirus and with keeping him apprised of developments. The Task Force is led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and is coordinated through the National Security Council. It is composed of subject matter experts from the White House and several United States Government agencies, and it includes some of the Nation’s foremost experts on infectious diseases. The Task Force will lead the Administration’s efforts to monitor, contain, and mitigate the spread of the virus, while ensuring that the American people have the most accurate and up-to-date health and travel information. The President’s top priority is the health and welfare of the American people. That is why, in 2018, President Trump signed the National Biodefense Strategy, which improves speed of action in situations such as this. The Administration, led by the President’s Task Force, will continue to work to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
  • January 29, 2020: The White House announces the formation of a new task force that will help monitor and contain the spread of the virus, and ensure Americans have accurate and up-to-date health and travel information, it says. President Trump initiates the White House coronavirus response task force, headed by US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is appointed to the task force.
  • January 29, 2020: The first group of passengers returned to the U.S. from China. They were expected to remain under observation for up to three days as they were screened, a CDC official said. The American passengers flew into California from Wuhan, with a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska, where they had also been screened.
  • January 30, 2020: At a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump talked about the U.S. partnership with China to control the disease. “We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great. They have somewhat of a problem, but hopefully, it’s all going to be great. But we’re working with China, just so you know, and other countries very, very closely. So it doesn’t get out of hand.”
  • January 30, 2020: U.S. Senators begin asking two days of questions in President Trump’s impeachment trial.
  • January 30, 2020: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, declares the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) as coronavirus continues to spread. The WHO Director-General reconvened the Emergency Committee (EC). This was earlier than the 10 days and only two days after the first reports of limited human-to-human transmission were reported outside China. This time, the EC reached consensus and advised the Director-General that the outbreak constituted a PHEIC. This is the sixth time WHO has declared a PHEIC since the International Health Regulations (IHR) came into force in 2005.
  • January 30, 2020: WHO’s situation report for January 30, 2020, reported 7818 total confirmed cases worldwide, with the majority of these in China, and 82 cases reported in 18 countries outside China. WHO gave a risk assessment of very high for China and high at the global level.
  • January 30, 2020: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China for its quick response to the crisis, saying the emergency declaration “is not a vote of no confidence in China.”
  • January 30, 2020: The WHO declares a global health emergency.
  • January 30, 2020: President Trump blocks travel from China.
  • January 30, 2020: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Iowa. “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. … we think it’s going to have a very good ending for it.”
  • January 30, 2020: The U.S. reports the first case of person-to-person transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the first case of person-to-person transmission in the U.S. is the husband of a Chicago woman who developed symptoms after visiting China. “We understand this may be concerning, but based on what we know now, our assessment remains that the immediate risk to the American public is low,” said Robert Redfield, director of the CDC.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the first case of person-to-person transmission.

  • January 30, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it doesn’t recommend the general public wear masks. “The virus is not spreading in the general community,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said. “We don’t routinely recommend the use of face masks by the public to prevent respiratory illness. And we certainly are not recommending that at this time for this new virus.”
  • January 31, 2020: The U.S. Senate holds a vote on whether to allow further witnesses and documents in President’s Trump impeachment trial.
  • January 31, 2020: President Trump declares a national health emergency. The Trump administration declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency in the United States, setting quarantines of Americans who have recently been to certain parts of China. CDC officials said it was the first quarantine order issued by the federal government in over 50 years.
  • January 31, 2020: President Trump issued an executive order that imposes a ban on travel to and from China. The Trump administration suspends entry into the United States by any foreign national who has traveled to China in the previous 14 days, excluding immediate family members, permanent residents, or American citizens.

President Trump issued an executive order that imposes a ban on travel to and from China.

  • January 31, 2020: President Donald Trump’s Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
  • January 31, 2020: Alex Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced a temporary suspension of entry into the United States of foreign nationals who had been in China in the previous 14 days. The ban was effective on February 2, 2020. Azar also declares the coronavirus a public health emergency.
  • January 31, 2020: U.S. officials began funneling all flights from China to the U.S. to one of seven airports that were designated ports of entry: New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta.
  • January 31, 2020: The outbreak had infected nearly 12,000 people, most of them in China, and killed more than 250 people, all in China.
  • January 31, 2020: Italy closed all flights to and from China, fearing a major outbreak of Coronavirus from hundreds of tourists arriving from China. China’s vice-minister of foreign affairs Qin Gang met Italy’s ambassador to China Luca Ferrari in Beijing following the flight ban. “Italy’s decision to stop flights without contacting China in advance caused great inconvenience to citizens of both countries. Many Chinese are still stranded in Italy,” the foreign ministry said on its website the following day.
  • January 31, 2020: China advocated international carriers to maintain their flying schedules. The Civil Aviation Administration of China stated “To meet the needs of passengers in and out of the country and the international transport of supplies during this special period … airlines [are required to] … continue transport to nations that have not imposed travel restrictions.”
  • January 31, 2020: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripped President Trump’s expanded travel ban after he included six other countries to the list of those that will face increased travel restrictions. “The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values, and the rule of law. The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy,” Pelosi said in a statement. “With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution, and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants,” she added.

February 2020

  • February 1, 2020: Former Vice President Joe Biden calls Trump’s travel ban decision “hysterical xenophobia … and fear-mongering.” Vice President Biden tweeted: “We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

  • February 2, 2020: The first death from coronavirus outside China is reported in the Philippines. A 44-year-old Chinese man hospitalized in the Philippines became the first known fatality outside China from the new virus that has killed more than 300 people.
  • February 2, 2020: In an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.” His executive order banning anyone who has been in China in the previous 14 days — with exceptions, including for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their close family members — went into effect on January 31, 2020.
  • February 3, 2020: China’s Foreign Ministry accuses the US government of inappropriately reacting to the outbreak and spreading fear by enforcing travel restrictions.
  • February 3, 2020: China’s assertion that all was well for international travel was supported by the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the agency’s Executive Board meeting. He said “There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent.”
  • February 3, 2020: World Health Organization releases the international community’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to help protect states with weaker health systems.
  • February 3, 2020: U.S. House of Representatives impeachment managers begin closing arguments, calling Trump a threat to national security.
  • February 4, 2020: President Trump talks about coronavirus in his State of the Union address; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi rips up every page of the national document.
  • February 4, 2020: At a WHO briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged that there be no travel bans. “We reiterate our call to all countries not to impose restrictions that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit. … Where such measures have been implemented, we urge that they are short in duration, proportionate to the public health risks and are reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves.”
  • February 4, 2020: Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. Over 2,600 guests and over 1,000 crew. Within two days, over 40 people test positive for COVID-19, including eight Americans.
  • February 4–5, 2020: The Japanese Health Ministry announces that ten people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship moored in Yokohama Bay are confirmed to have the coronavirus. The ship, which is carrying more than 3,700 people, is placed under quarantine scheduled to end on February 19. The ship attracts global media attention.
  • February 5, 2020: The U.S. Senate votes to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment, 52–48 and 53–47.
  • February 5, 2020: The U.S. House Democrats finally take up coronavirus in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia.

The U.S. House Democrats finally take up coronavirus in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia.

The U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials say that a California patient being treated for novel coronavirus is the first US case of unknown origin.

The World Health Organization (WHO) raises the global risk of the coronavirus from “high” to “very high.”

The first coronavirus death is recorded in the United States.

March 2020

  • March 1, 2020: 100 coronavirus cases in the United States.
  • March 2, 2020: Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio made a rare partnership in a Monday press conference briefing the public on coronavirus as the first confirmed case in Manhattan was reported Sunday night. Cuomo emphasized that while coronavirus is concerning, it’s not as grave a threat as other illnesses such as ebola or influenza. “Avian flu, ebola, SARS, MERS, measles, right? So we have gone through this before,” Cuomo continued. “When you look at the reality here, about 80% of people who are infected with the coronavirus self-resolve… 20% get ill. The mortality rate estimated to be about 1.4% — what does that mean? The normal flu mortality rate is about 0.6%.” The governor repeated several times that the first confirmed case in a healthcare worker who recently returned from Iran did not require hospitalization. She is treating herself at home with her husband — also a healthcare worker — and taking “textbook” protocols to prevent the spread. Cuomo said the state’s goal is to test about 1,000 people per day, if necessary, to contain the illness, which originated in China back in December and has since spread to dozens of countries around the world. “There is no doubt that there will be more cases where we find people who test positive, we said early on it wasn’t a question of if but when,” Cuomo said. “Our challenge now is to test as many people as we can. We’re not going to eliminate the spread but we can limit the spread and testing is very important.” Buses and other transit infrastructure will be treated with bleach, Cuomo said, and the city has reserved 1,200 hospital beds for coronavirus patients. Cuomo indicated that the state will be contacting passengers who were onboard the same flight from Iran with the infected woman and her husband. The patient did not use public transportation; she took a private car home. De Blasio reinforced the governor’s stance that the coronavirus leaves healthy New Yorkers with nothing to fear but that those with exhibiting flu-like symptoms and have a “nexus” to affected countries. “This is a disease we’re learning about, the international community is learning about, but so far it does not seem to be a disease that focuses on the kids; in fact, the opposite,” de Blasio said. “The facts in fact show us that this is a situation that can be managed.” Transmission requires prolonged exposure to an affected person, according to officials. Cuomo said he was confident in the federal government’s effort to combat the disease, spearheaded by Vice President Mike Pence, but said they were not offering the state nearly enough support. Stemming the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, is bound to be costly for New York, he said. This story was originally published on

Cuomo emphasized that while coronavirus is concerning, it’s not as grave a threat as other illnesses such as ebola or influenza.

“N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated that while the situation with the coronavirus is severe, people should avoid panicking and all efforts should be made to avoid ‘shutting everything down for two weeks’ like China has done. Remember what we’re really trying to do here is avoid the massive disruption of closing everything down for two weeks, the way China did, the way Italy is doing.”

A woman walks in the deserted Central Station in Milan after the lockdown was imposed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic.

  • March 11, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) says the outbreak is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.
  • March 11, 2020: President Donald Trump bans most visitors from continental Europe. Global stock markets fall further.
  • March 11, 2020: Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine is a heme polymerase inhibitor being evaluated to determine if its use in COVID-19 leads to improved virological clearance and mortality. It appears to block viral infection by increasing the endosomal pH needed for virus/cell fusion and interferes with the glycosylation of virus cellular receptors. The drug also has an immune-modulating activity that is proposed to enhance its antiviral effect in vivo.
  • March 11, 2020: Coronavirus is poised to inflame inequality in schools as they are not ready to take education entirely online. The threat of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, is forcing educators across the country to think about what they’ll do if they have to close their schools for weeks or even months at a time. State and federal agencies have advised schools to create online learning plans to minimize the disruption to student learning. For some schools, that’s a small leap. Their students have internet connections at home, laptops they can work from, teachers who know how to design online lessons, and a strong foundation of the in-school blended learning experience. But the fact is, these schools are rare. Most schools are completely unprepared — or, at best, woefully underprepared — for coronavirus and virtual learning. Unequal internet access is just the tip of the iceberg of a massive equity crisis facing U.S. schools should coronavirus force education online. CoSN members have been turning to each other for advice and support about how to approach coronavirus and virtual learning. But Holland is not optimistic. The data just don’t support optimism. According to the latest survey data from the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of adults have broadband internet at home. But the differences based on income are striking. While 92 percent of adults from households earning $75,000 or more per year say they have broadband internet at home, just 56 percent of adults from households earning below $30,000 say the same. About 17 percent of adults access the internet from home through a smartphone only. For the kids in their homes, that means trying to read assignments, write papers, do research, and take quizzes with tiny screens and tinier keyboards. As Holland points out, successful remote learning experiences depend on teachers who know how to create and deliver engaging lessons online, and students who have the digital literacy skills to access them. If entire K-12 districts move online, what can schools expect of early elementary schoolers? Not much. Younger children don’t have the independent learning skills, attention spans, or social-emotional maturity to succeed in virtual learning environments for very long, let alone the troubleshooting skills they will inevitably need to manage whatever technology they’re using. Many middle and even high schoolers aren’t much better equipped. And what’s more, many of those older students may have to help watch their younger siblings during extended school closures, leaving them little time to tackle assignments of their own. Some districts have already described their school closure plans as though students will be able to cycle through their regular school schedules from home. This ignores a host of equity concerns around access and flies in the face of research-based best practices for online learning. Students cannot be expected to sit in front of their computers for seven hours per day. Many teachers have been practicing blended and online learning for years. But they’re not yet the norm in U.S. schools. And that’s what has Holland most concerned about what mass school closures may mean for learning.

Most schools are completely unprepared — or, at best, woefully underprepared — for coronavirus and virtual learning.

Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) announced the first death from COVID-19 in the state.

The Chinese government reportedly knew the disease was spreading before the tweet was sent, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Sermo’s COVID-19 Real Time Barometer Study found that a second global outbreak is anticipated by 83% of global physicians, 90% of US physicians but only 50% of Chinese physicians.

  • March 26, 2020: March 26, 2020: CVS Health helping protect the supply of medicines potentially useful for COVID-19 treatment. CVS published the following statement yesterday assuring its clients that the company is protecting a supply for people already taking hydroxychloroquine. CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefit management business of CVS Health, is working with clients to implement new measures to balance the burgeoning interest in off-label use of certain medicines to treat COVID-19 pneumonia with the ongoing needs of members who use these drugs for chronic conditions. These medicines include hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, one protease inhibitor, and albuterol inhalers, which are approved for the treatment of lupus, bacterial infections, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. “Pharmacy benefit managers play an important role at the center of the pharmaceutical supply chain,” said CVS Caremark President Alan Lotvin, M.D. “Our advanced analytics allowed us to quickly identify changes in prescribing patterns and enabled us to take proactive steps to help ensure the integrity of the supply chain. We are taking additional steps today to limit stockpiling that could result in future shortages and gaps in care. We will continue to anticipate and support the needs of our clients, who collectively provide prescription drug coverage for more than 90 million members.” With client consent, CVS Caremark is setting appropriate limits on the quantity of each of these medicines for potential use in treating COVID-19. Members who already take these medicines for approved uses will be able to bypass the new quantity limits. “We continue to proactively study the latest clinical literature and consider what additional measures may be needed to help facilitate access to any other newly identified treatments as they emerge during this extraordinary public health situation,” said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Sree Chaguturu, M.D.
  • March 26, 2020: “We are at war with a virus that threatens to tear us apart,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to world leaders in a special virtual summit on the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • March 26, 2020: The U.S. has the most coronavirus cases. The United States becomes the country hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 80,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 deaths. The U.S. surged past China and Italy to become the planet’s most infected nation. More than 1,296 people had died in the U.S.
  • March 27, 2020: It was only after a telephonic conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump that Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to curb international flights from China. China’s Civil Aviation Administration stated after the discussion “that 90% of international flights would be temporarily suspended. The number of incoming passengers would be cut to 5,000 a day, from 25,000. China has also ordered local airlines to maintain only one route per country, once a week, as of 29th March”.

It was only after a telephonic conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump that Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to curb international flights from China.

  • March 27, 2020: President Trump signs a $2 trillion stimulus package into law to address both the health and economic crises. President Donald Trump signed the largest stimulus package in U.S. history. The bill gives up to $1,200 per individual and $500 per child for households making up to $150,000 a year, though caveats and limitations apply to individuals. Small businesses are given access to over $377bn in loans that can be forgiven and corporations, state, and local governments are given access to $454bn. The healthcare industry is given access to $180bn.
  • March 27, 2020: President Trump ordered the administration to use its authority under the Defense Production Act to force General Motors to expedite government contracts to build ventilators.
  • March 28: The U.S. CDC issues travel advisory to the New York area. The CDC issued a request asking residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to curtail nonessential travel for 14 days.
  • March 28, 2020: An infant younger than one year — who tested positive for the virus in Chicago — died.
  • March 29: President Trump announced that the White House would be extending its social distancing guidelines through April 30. “The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump said. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.” Trump said that he expects that, by June 1, “we will be well on our way to recovery.”
  • March 30, 2020: By the end of March COVID-19 had become a full-blown global crisis with nearly 10,000 deaths in Italy, Spain, and the U.S. and over 5000 in Iran and the UK which was much more than those dead in China.
  • March 30, 2020: The U.S. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus top 160,000.
  • March 30, 2020: The number of tests crosses the 1 million mark, still behind where the country needs to be. Trump tells Fox News: “We inherited a broken test” for COVID-19.
  • March 30, 2020: Healthcare workers and authorities across the country bemoan the lack of testing.
  • March 30, 2020: The White House coronavirus response coordinator said Monday that she is “very worried about every city in the United States” and projects 100,000 to 200,000 American deaths as a best case scenario. In an interview on “TODAY,” Dr. Deborah Birx painted a grim message about the expected fatalities, echoing that they could hit more than 2 million without any measures, as coronavirus cases continue to climb throughout the country. “I think everyone understands now that you can go from five to 50 to 500 to 5,000 cases very quickly,” Birx said. “I think in some of the metro areas we were late in getting people to follow the 15-day guidelines,” she added. Dr. Deborah Birx said the projections by Dr. Anthony Fauci that U.S. deaths could range from 1.6 million to 2.2 million is a worst case scenario if the country did “nothing” to contain the outbreak, but said even “if we do things almost perfectly,” she still predicts up to 200,000 U.S. deaths.

Dr. Deborah Birx said the projections by Dr. Anthony Fauci that U.S. deaths could range from 1.6 million to 2.2 million is a worst case scenario if the country did “nothing” to contain the outbreak, but said even “if we do things almost perfectly,” she still predicts up to 200,000 U.S. deaths.

April 2020

  • April 1, 2020: Vital Statistics Reporting Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19). Provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, and National Vital Statistics System.
  • April 1, 2020: The United States surpasses 200,000 cases.
  • April 1, 2020: Two centuries of law guide legal approach to modern pandemic. As COVID-19 continues its assault on the country, residents in more than 10 states have been ordered to stay home and businesses, including restaurants, health clubs and entire malls, have been closed as governors nationwide take extraordinary steps in an effort to protect public health. Under what legal authority do such orders fall — and are there legal limits on government actions during a health emergency? Never have state and federal powers been tested to the extent that we are seeing today. The federal government’s power is limited to certain circumstances. Through the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, the federal government has broad authority to quarantine and impose other health measures to prevent the spread of diseases from foreign countries, as well as between states although that has never been affirmed by the courts. Also, the federal Public Health Service Act authorizes the secretary of Health and Human Services to lead federal public health and medical responses related to public health emergencies. Under the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court decisions over nearly 200 years, state governments have the primary authority to control the spread of dangerous diseases within their jurisdictions. The 10th Amendment, which gives states all powers not specifically given to the federal government, allows them the authority to take public health emergency actions, such as setting quarantines and business restrictions. With states adopting emergency measures, there are several broad public health tools that governors can invoke. They can, for example, order quarantines to separate and restrict the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. They can also direct that those who are sick with a quarantinable communicable disease be isolated from people who are not sick. And, as a growing number of governors have done in recent days, states can order residents to stay at home with exceptions for essential work, food or other needs. The governors’ orders, akin to shelter-in-place directives, affect tens of millions in the affected states. Curfews are another tool they can impose. As outlined by the National Conference of State Legislatures, emergency health laws vary by state. When a 53-year-old Kentucky man who tested positive for COVID-19 refused to self-isolate, for example, state officials there obtained a court order to force him to isolate himself. They also posted a law enforcement officer outside the man’s home. The power to quarantine and take even more stringent measures in the name of public health has belonged largely to the states for nearly 200 years. In 1824, the Supreme Court drew a clear line in Gibbons v. Ogden between the state and federal governments when it came to regulating activities within and between states. In a unanimous ruling, then-Chief Justice John Marshall cited the 10th Amendment in saying that police powers are largely reserved to states for activities within their borders. Those police powers, he explained, include the ability to impose isolation and quarantine conditions. Marshall wrote that quarantine laws “form a portion of that immense mass of legislation which embraces everything within the territory of a state not surrendered to the general government.” In 1902, the Supreme Court directly addressed a state’s power to quarantine an entire geographical area. In Compagnie Francaise de Navigation a Vapeur v. Louisiana State Board of Health, the justices upheld a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that the state could enact and enforce quarantine laws unless Congress had decided to preempt them. Thus Louisiana could exclude healthy persons from an infested area populated with persons with a contagious or infectious disease (the Port of New Orleans), and that this power applied as well to persons seeking to enter the infected place, whether they came from within the state or not. The decision in Compagnie Francaise remains unchanged, and numerous courts have cited it as authority for state quarantines as recently as the Ebola outbreak. While President Donald Trump has played down the need for the federal government to declare national quarantines or isolations, some interpret he has that power under the Commerce Clause, which governs commerce with “foreign nations and among” states. The federal government did not invoke the Commerce Clause during the global 1918–1919 Spanish Influenza pandemic, which killed an estimated 40 million worldwide, including 675,000 Americans. The president could urge other governors across the United States to issue “stay home” orders following the lead of California and New York, which were the first states to issue such directives. But as a Congressional Research Service report explained in 2014 amid the Ebola threat, governors have broad powers to invoke restrictions in their state while the power of the president is significantly more limited by law and Supreme Court precedent. The president, for instance, said on March 17 that he discussed “a national lockdown” with advisers to minimize the spread of COVID-19, but three days later he dismissed the idea. While some say such a centralized federal response would be more effective and needed, any executive order to that effect would be unprecedented and would likely lead to a court challenge on constitutional grounds.
  • April 1, 2020: The flu shot is updated annually to protect from strains of the influenza virus. Each shot protects from either three strains (trivalent) or four strains (quadrivalent) of influenza. Three-component vaccines include the influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2), and one influenza B virus. Four-component vaccines include an additional B virus. The vaccine does not include any of the coronaviruses and is not meant to protect someone from them. Since coronavirus isn’t in the flu shot, the shot won’t give anyone symptoms of the coronavirus or cause them to test positive, said Dr. Christie Alexander, president of Florida Academy of Family Physicians and associate professor for the Florida State University College of Medicine. “If someone develops coronavirus symptoms, it may be because they came into contact with someone who had the virus a few weeks before they got their shot,” she said. “There’s no cause and effect between the two.”
  • April 1, 2020: Academic research has also not shown a connection between the flu shot and coronavirus. The Hong Kong coronavirus study in question, Dr. Christie Alexander said, was a small study with limitations that shouldn’t be extrapolated. The coronavirus mentioned is not the new strain of coronavirus that has become a global pandemic. The phenomenon of “viral interference” would not make anyone more likely to contract coronavirus, said Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Viral interference, she said, is when a person already infected with one virus is resistant to infection with a second, because of how their immune system fights the first virus. The system isn’t perfect, she said, and co-infection by multiple viruses can still occur. While it’s true that people who get the flu shot are still susceptible to infection by other respiratory viruses like the common cold, they are not more susceptible than those who do not get the vaccine, she said. “I wouldn’t think that the flu vaccine will make you more susceptible to these viruses,” she said. “It’s just that they’re so prevalent that you might pick up the infection with that more often than the flu virus, obviously for which you’re protected.”
  • April 2, 2020: More than 1M confirmed cases worldwide. The world registered more than 1 million confirmed cases in less than five months with more than 51,000 confirmed deaths from the disease. In reality, that mark was crossed much earlier because many more people have the virus but were not tested.
  • April 2, 2020: Mayor de Blasio says New York City’s residents should cover their faces. “It doesn’t have to be fancy to work. It can be real homegrown,” he said. “When you put on that face covering, you’re protecting everyone else. A lot of people out there, right this minute, don’t even know they have it.” “You can create a face-covering with anything you have at home right now, a piece of cloth,” he said. “You can create your own version and put on your own decoration. That’s what we want you to do. Something homemade, not something professional.”
  • April 2, 2020: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 6.6 million US workers file for their first week of unemployment benefits in the week ending March 28, the highest number of initial claims in history. In the U.S., a record of 6.65 million Americans filed first-time jobless or unemployment claims the previous week, the Labor Department said. That number would later be revised up by 219,000 to an all-time high of 6.86 million. The U.S. sets a record for single-week unemployment benefits claims as the economy continues to crash due to stay-at-home measures across the US, according to the US Department of Labor. Worries increase that many businesses will close and a housing crisis could emerge from an inability to pay rent across the country.
  • April 2, 2020: Globally, the total number of coronavirus cases surpasses 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally.
  • April 2, 2020: An international poll of more than 6,000 doctors found that the antimalarial drug Hydroxychloroquine was the most highly rated treatment for the novel coronavirus.

An international poll of more than 6,000 doctors found that the antimalarial drug Hydroxychloroquine was the most highly rated treatment for the novel coronavirus.

  • April 3, 2020: Joe Biden’s campaign said the former vice president supports President Donald Trump’s January 31 decision to ban foreign nationals who had been in China within the previous 14 days from entering the United States. “Joe Biden supports travel bans that are guided by medical experts, advocated by public health officials, and backed by a full strategy,” Kate Bedingfeld, Biden’s deputy campaign manager said.
  • April 4, 2020: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams posts a 45-second do-it-yourself mask tutorial. On Twitter TWTR+2.21% he advises people use material and plastic bands rather than sewing: “Here’s how you can make your own face-covering in a few easy steps with items you can find around the house, like an old scarf, a bandana or a hand towel, or you can make a face-covering out of an old T-shirt.”
  • April 4, 2020: The first case of the Covid-19 virus was discovered in Wuhan on November 17, 2019 by the Chinese government. By the time a complete lockdown was imposed in Wuhan, Hubei province, on January 23, which is the ground zero of the pandemic, 67 days had passed. However, by then, an estimated 4 million people had already left Wuhan. If China had acted swiftly and imposed a lockdown on Wuhan much earlier the number of infected countries and people would have been drastically lowered.
  • April 4, 2020: The initial results from a placebo-controlled trial of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 indicate that patients hospitalized with mild illness recovered more quickly with addition of the drug than with placebo at the start of a standard treatment. The results also suggest that hydroxychloroquine might convey some protection against the illness worsening.
  • April 4, 2020: U.S. Health officials announced an expansion of the airport screening beyond arrivals from Wuhan. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained that people would be screened for “significant risk, as well as any evidence of symptoms.” If there was no reason for additional examination, “they would be allowed to complete their travel back to their home, where they then will be monitored by the local health departments in a self-monitoring situation in their home.” The procedures called for screening to be conducted in empty sections of the airports, usually past customs areas. Passengers would line up and spend a minute or two having their temperature taken and being asked about their health and travel history. Those with a fever or self-reported symptoms like a cough would get a medical evaluation, and if they were thought to have been infected or exposed to the virus, they would be sent to a hospital where local health officials would take over. Passengers would also be given information cards about the virus and symptoms. Later versions advised people to stay at home for two weeks.
  • April 4, 2020: Most people with Covid-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care, while severe cases often receive supportive care in the hospital, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has noted that for those with Covid-19 isolated at home, they are considered recovered if they meet three criteria: No fever for at least 72 hours without using fever-reducing medications. Improvement in other coronavirus-related symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath. A period of at least seven days has passed since symptoms first appeared. If they have access to testing, the criteria includes two consecutive tests that are negative and 24 hours apart, along with no longer having a fever and seeing improvement in symptoms. Recovered doesn’t mean that a patient immediately returns to feeling healthy and may still have a lingering cough even if they meet the recovery criteria.
  • April 4, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described the airport entry screening as “part of a layered approach” that could “slow and reduce the spread of disease” when used with other public health measures. “We cannot stop all introductions,” the C.D.C. added, noting that the coronavirus pandemic was “especially challenging due to asymptomatic and presymptomatic infections and an incubation period of up to two weeks.”
  • April 4, 2020: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that the Trump administration’s airport screening measures were “unprecedented” and allowed “the U.S. to stay ahead of the outbreak as it developed.”
  • April 4, 2020: “While the media would rather speculate about outrageous claims of palace intrigue, President Trump and this Administration remain completely focused on the health and safety of the American people with around the clock work to slow the spread of the virus, expand testing, and expedite vaccine development,” said Judd Deere, a spokesman for the president. “Because of the President’s leadership, we will emerge from this challenge healthy, stronger, and with a prosperous and growing economy.”
  • April 4, 2020: During the first half of January, when Chinese officials were underplaying the severity of the outbreak, no travelers from China were screened for potential exposure to the virus. Health screening began in mid-January, but only for some travelers who had been in Wuhan and only at the airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. By that time, about 4,000 people had already entered the United States directly from Wuhan, according to VariFlight, an aviation data company based in China. The measures were expanded to all passengers from China two weeks later.
  • April 4–5, 2020: President Trump says in two successive news briefings that US citizens should try an unproven anti-malaria drug, Hydroxychloroquine, to treat COVID-19. “Take it. What do you have to lose?” Trump asks on Saturday, suggesting he might do so himself after asking “my doctors”. Trump says the following day there is no time “to take a couple of years” to test the drug’s potency against COVID-19. Note: Evidence at this time was anecdotal. There were reports that misuse of the treatment can be fatal. Fauci tells TV network CBS that “In terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say it works.” “The data are just at best suggestive,” Fauci says. “There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there’s no effect.”
  • April 5, 2020: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on April 5 that Trump trailed dozens of other countries in issuing travel restrictions on China. “He indicated that I complimented him on dealing with China. Well, you know, 45 nations had already moved to keep, block China’s personnel from being able to come to the United States before the president moved,” Biden said. “It’s about pace. It’s about urgency. And I don’t think there’s been enough of it, urgency.” Biden’s statement that 45 countries blocked Chinese personnel from “being able to come to the United States” doesn’t make sense — the countries were dealing with travel from China into their own countries, of course. Biden’s campaign did not provide an on-the-record clarification. Based on the context of the interview, Biden’s point was that 45 nations imposed restrictions on travel from China before the United States’ own restriction, therefore the United States was slow on this front. PolitiFact found that the United States acted around the same time as did many other countries. “While the United States was not one of the first countries to impose restrictions against travel from China, nor was it late to do so relative to the actions of others,” said Samantha Kiernan, a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Rather, the United States acted around the same time that many other countries did.” PolitiFact research suggests that well-implemented travel restrictions can buy time to ramp up emergency preparedness and bolster activities like testing and isolating people who may have been exposed.
  • April 6, 2020: According to Samantha Kiernan, co-creator of the ThinkGlobalHealth tracker on travel restrictions on China, 46 countries and territories (Macau and Hong Kong) imposed travel restrictions on China that came into effect before the United States’ restrictions did on February 2, 2020. Twelve other countries’ travel restrictions against China came into effect the same day as the U.S. Most of those countries’ decisions came in the days immediately after the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, Kiernan said. “To be fair, the United States was one of the first Western countries to impose any kind of formal travel restriction against China,” Kiernan told us. “With the exceptions of the Czech Republic (suspended visas seven days after the U.S. implemented restrictions) and Italy (suspended flights two days before the U.S. implemented restrictions), the EU did not impose travel restrictions against China specifically. Australia imposed its entry ban on travelers from China, which was quite similar to the United States’, one day before the United States acted. New Zealand and Israel imposed their travel bans on the same day as the United States.” In general, she said, the earliest countries to impose travel restrictions against China were Asian and Pacific countries. “The Marshall Islands, for instance, imposed the earliest travel ban against China on January 24,” Kiernan said. “North Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Macau, Kazakhstan, Micronesia, Laos, Malaysia, etc. all imposed some form of travel restriction against China in January as well. A few African nations imposed travel restrictions against China in January as well, such as Mauritius and Seychelles.” “Taking this all together, what this data shows is that the United States was neither behind nor ahead of the curve in terms of imposing travel restrictions against China,” Kiernan said. The United States announced its restrictions the day after the WHO declared a public health emergency, “and those restrictions came into effect two days later. However, to say the United States was one of the first countries to impose an entry ban on travelers from China would be incorrect,” she said. “By my count, roughly twenty countries and territories (Hong Kong) imposed entry bans similar if not more stringent than the U.S. ban prior to the United States imposing its restrictions.”
  • April 6, 2020: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19, is moved into intensive care. He went public with his diagnosis 10 days earlier. He is released from the hospital on April 12, 2020.
  • April 6, 2020: Despite repeated warnings that the stockpile of medical equipment including N95 masks had been depleted during the H1N1 crisis, it wasn’t replenished by the Obama administration. Bloomberg News reported that the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak used up 75% of its stockpile and caused a nationwide shortage of masks including a two- to three-year backlog in orders of the N95 respirator masks.The Strategic National Stockpile of medical equipment was established in 1999 to prepare the country for emergencies like a pandemic, natural disasters, or a bioweapon attack. It was in 2006 that Congress approved an expansion of the stockpile to include protective gear like the N95 masks. Since it was established, it has been used 13 times. During the George W. Bush administration, it was used after the 9/11 attack, the 2001 anthrax attacks, as well as for natural disaster response like hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) and hurricanes Gustav and Ike (2008). During the presidency of Barack Obama, the national stockpile was seriously taxed as the administration addressed multiple crises over eight years. About “75 percent of N95 respirators and 25 percent of face masks contained in the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile (∼100 million products) were deployed for use in health care settings over the course of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic response,” according to a 2017 study in the journal Health Security. Again according to NIH, the stockpile’s resources were also used during hurricanes Alex, Irene, Isaac and Sandy. Flooding in 2010 in North Dakota also called for stockpile funds to be deployed. The 2014 outbreaks of the ebola virus and botulism, as well as the 2016 outbreak of the zika virus, continued to significantly tax the stockpile with no serious effort from the Obama administration to replenish the fund. ProPublica reported on April 3 that congressional budget battles in the early years of the Obama administration contributed to stockpile shortages. But the article notes available funds were used not to replenish masks: “With limited resources, officials in charge of the stockpile tend to focus on buying lifesaving drugs from small biotechnology firms that would, in the absence of a government buyer, have no other market for their products, experts said. Masks and other protective equipment are in normal times widely available and thus may not have been prioritized for purchase, they said.”

Despite repeated warnings that the stockpile of medical equipment including N95 masks had been depleted during the H1N1 crisis, it wasn’t replenished by the Obama administration.

  • April 6, 2020: Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said you can’t lift a lockdown all at once. “You need to say, ‘We will stop doing this element of the shutdown, and then we will wait, and we will look at the data. If that works, we go to the next stage and the next stage.’ So a careful calibrated stepwise exit from lockdown.”
  • April 7, 2020: Deborah Birx, MD, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said, “There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem — some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death. Right now … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that as a COVID-19 death.”
  • April 7, 2020: Dr. Ed Donoghue, a forensic pathology colleague at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said: “No matter how these deaths are currently being attributed after this pandemic terminates, an excellent approximation of the true fatality rate of COVID-19 deaths can be made by the calculation of the excess mortality for the period. Almost certainly, because of the scarcity of testing and other reasons, we will find that the number of COVID-19 deaths has been grossly underestimated.” The final death toll is going to depend on multiple factors: the density of the population; availability of testing; genetic factors (both host and virus); the public health response; and the robustness of the healthcare system.
  • April 7, 2020: Michigan Democratic State Rep. Karen Whitsett of Detroit lawmaker says Hydroxychloroquine saved her life — saying she felt better within a few hours of taking her prescription.
  • April 7, 2020: President Trump alleges that the WHO mishandled the pandemic. He questioned why the WHO had recommended “keeping our borders open to China early on”, the advice he rejected. “The WHO blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China-centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?”
  • April 8, 2020: Dr. Trevor Bedford, an associate professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and affiliated with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division of the University of Washington, showed that a virus identified in a patient in late February had a mutation shared by one identified in Washington on Jan. 20. The Washington viruses also shared other mutations in common with ones isolated in Wuhan, suggesting that a traveler had brought the coronavirus from China. With that discovery, Dr. Bedford took the lead in sequencing coronavirus genomes. Sequencing more genomes around Washington gave them a better view of how the outbreak there got started. “I’m quite confident that it was not spreading in December in the United States,” Dr. Bedford said. “There may have been a couple of other introductions in January that didn’t take off in the same way.”
  • April 8, 2020: China reopens Wuhan after a 76-day lockdown. The city of Wuhan was lit up after midnight to celebrate the lifting of a 76-day lockdown.
  • April 8, 2020: The poll’s findings suggest that most Americans, and most Democrats, are not persuaded by the national media’s efforts to downplay China’s role in causing the pandemic, which in some cases has included the promotion of Chinese propaganda. The President’s efforts to impose tougher trade restrictions on China are also popular: Sixty-nine percent of Americans and 53 percent of Democrats say they support such policies. Most Americans think the Chinese government should pay reparations for failing to prevent the coronavirus from becoming a pandemic.
  • April 8, 2020: Recent research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia. “The majority is European,” said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.
  • April 9, 2020: Governor Wolf announced the closure of schools through the end of the academic year and a temporary reprieve program for non-violent state correctional facility inmates amid Department of Corrections plans to keep inmates safe while incarcerated.
  • April 10, 2020: Coronavirus deaths pass 100,000. The global death toll surpasses 100,000, doubling in nearly a week.
  • April 10, 2020: The U.S. marks the deadliest day. More than 2,000 people in the U.S. died of coronavirus on Good Friday, a new daily high in the nation’s fight against COVID-19.
  • April 10, 2020: Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said that the U.S. has not “reached the peak” of the pandemic but that there were “encouraging” signs that the curves were flattening or lowering.
  • April 10, 2020: The USA gives 10 times the amount of money to the World Health Organization (WHO) than China. The total contribution of China is $86 million. The U.S. has contributed $893 million to the WHO’s operations during its current two-year funding cycle, according to the organization. “It is involuntary contributions to the WHO where the United States truly shines.” As coronavirus continues to cripple almost every country on earth, sharp questions are being raised over the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the top brass at the WHO.
  • April 11, 2020: The Daily Mail reported that it has uncovered documents showing that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) gave $3.7 million to scientists at the Wuhan Lab at the center of coronavirus leak scrutiny. According to the British paper, “the federal grant-funded experiments on bats from the caves where the virus is believed to have originated.”
  • April 11, 2020: The total number of workers signing up to get unemployment insurance checks reaches nearly 12 million, the highest number (seasonally adjusted) since the government began tracking.
  • April 11, 2020: The U.S. has the most coronavirus deaths. The United States passed Italy to become the country with the most coronavirus deaths. However, as a proportion of the total population in the U.S., virus deaths remain at about one-sixth of those in hard-hit Italy or Spain. More than 19,700 people in the U.S. had died due to complications from the coronavirus. Worldwide, the death count surpassed 104,000.
  • April 11, 2020: A Covid-19 vaccine is considered essential by infectious disease specialists to create “herd immunity,” which could stop the spread of the virus and allow societies to fully re-open. However, many concerned citizens and medical professionals are concerned that the rush to create a Covid-19 vaccine could mean that a vaccine may be released without the proper safety checks, according to a Reuters analysis. “A survey of 2,200 people in the United States taken in March found that 76% would be willing to get a Covid-19 vaccine but, within that group, only 30% said they’d want to be one of the first vaccinated.”
  • April 13, 2020: Even though States begin to see a stabilization in infection rates, governors cautiously discuss reopening their states. The executive branch is granted limited powers during times of emergency; however, the US constitution gives public health and safety responsibilities primarily to state and local officials within their jurisdictions.
  • April 13, 2020: Dr. Fauci told TV network CNN that social distancing and other measures “could have saved more lives”. But he added it was “very difficult to go back and say that” and the process of deciding whether to impose early restrictions was “complicated”. Fauci says on April 13 it was a “poor choice of words”. The White House also says Trump is not firing the top scientist.
  • April 13, 2020: While authorities are hopeful, the US can return to normal, Dr. Fauci and other medical experts expect to see little before a vaccine is created. The NIH head says he hopes to see a real degree of normality by November.
  • April 13, 2020: President Trump, who has been consistently chided by the media for his optimistic outlook on the treatment, was accused by The Washington Post of spreading false information for leading the American people to believe the drug was an effective therapy for the Wuhan coronavirus. “In particular, Trump’s incorrect comments on the drugs and his role in advocating for their use, based on minimal and flimsy evidence, sets a bad example,” the fact checkers wrote of Trump’s enthusiasm for the drug. “His advocacy for this unproven treatment provides potentially false hope and has led to shortages for people who rely on the drugs. The president earns Four Pinocchios.” The newspaper also listed several examples in which, yes, the president did speak positively about the potential of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the sick. At no point, however, did Trump say it would work or that it was proven, the lie he seems to be accused of.

“But I think it could be, based on what I see, it could be a game changer.” — President Trump, at a White House news briefing, March 19, 2020

“Hydroxychloroquine — I don’t know, it’s looking like it’s having some good results. That would be a phenomenal thing.” — Trump, at a White House news briefing, April 3

“What do you have to lose? I’ll say it again: What do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it.” — Trump, at a White House news briefing, April 4

“It’s this powerful drug on malaria. And there are signs that it works on this. Some very strong signs.” — Trump, at a White House news briefing, April 5

While the fact checkers were correct in saying that there was not yet concrete proof that use of Hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19, they failed to mention that many doctors have claimed that the drug has helped their patients fight the virus. Verified claims by physicians go well beyond “anecdotal” tales of success as claimed by the Washington Post. Doctors from across the United States and the world have hailed the combination of Hydroxychloroquine and other therapies, including common antibiotic “Z-Pack,” as being undeniably effective in treating patients with the Wuhan virus. “Every patient I’ve prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within 8 to 12 hours, they were basically symptom-free,” Dr. Anthony Cardillo of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles said. “So clinically I am seeing a resolution.” In an April survey of thousands of doctors across the world, nearly 40 percent said that they found hydroxychloroquine to be the “most effective therapy” for the symptoms of COVID-19. White House Coronavirus Task Force expert Dr. Tony Fauci, while declining to say concretely that hydroxychloroquine was clinically effective against COVID-19 infection, said that he would take hydroxychloroquine himself as part of a clinical trial. The Post went on to suggest that the president’s enthusiasm for the drug was causing hoarding and shortages that made it less available to people who used prescriptions for lupus, malaria, and rheumatoid arthritis. While the demand may be up, hydroxychloroquine is still not available without a prescription from a physician. It cannot be purchased in dangerous, unregulated amounts by the American public.

White House Coronavirus Task Force expert Dr. Tony Fauci, while declining to say concretely that hydroxychloroquine was clinically effective against COVID-19 infection, said that he would take hydroxychloroquine himself as part of a clinical trial.

  • April 13–15, 2020: Europe eases lockdown. Some countries in Europe begin to scale back their lockdowns. Austria plans to let DIY stores reopen; Italy plans to reopen some shops, and Spain gets ready to allow some construction and factory employees to go back to work.
  • April 14, 2020: AP reported that: “Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that the U.S. does not yet have the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy … Fauci said that a May 1 target is ‘a bit overly optimistic’ for many areas of the country. Any easing off the strict social-distancing rules in place in much of the country would have to occur on a rolling basis, not all at once.”
  • April 14, 2020: 65% of Doctors Polled Prescribe Hydroxychloroquine.
  • April 14, 2020: U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called on Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to cease funding a research grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, telling Tucker Carlson Tonight the action could be accomplished “with the stroke of a pen.” “I’m against funding Chinese research in our country, but I’m sure against funding it in China,” Gaetz said. “The NIH [National Institutes of Health] gives a $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology [and] they then advertise that they need coronavirus researchers and following that, coronavirus erupts in Wuhan.”
  • April 14, 2020: Neither the U.S. House of Representatives nor the Senate is expected to return to Washington until May 4, because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, Congress may still be able to pass legislation through unanimous consent, which does not require a majority of members to be present.
  • April 14, 2020: All 50 U.S. states report deaths. All 50 states reported at least one death, and more than 23,000 Americans died. President Donald Trump said his administration will “halt” funding to the WHO as it conducts a review of the global organization’s handling of the pandemic.
  • April 14, 2020: Fourth economic rescue bill stalls. Republicans seek additional $250 billion for small businesses. Democrats agree, but also want another $250 billion for hospitals and state and local governments. On April 16, the SBA says it has committed all of the nearly $350 billion small business aid program called the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • April 14, 2020: President Donald Trump suspends World Health Organization (WHO) funding pending the administration’s investigation into the way the organization has handled the coronavirus pandemic. He accuses the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”. The USA gives 10 times the amount of money to the WHO than China. The total contribution of China is $86 million. The U.S. has contributed $893 million to the WHO’s operations during its current two-year funding cycle, according to the organization. “It is involuntary contributions to the WHO where “the United States truly shines.” Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responds that he regrets the decision while saying the WHO is “focused on stopping this virus and saving lives.”

President Donald Trump suspends World Health Organization (WHO) funding pending the administration’s investigation into the way the organization has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

  • April 15, 2020: New York Governor Cuomo issues an executive order requiring New Yorkers to wear masks in public settings. That includes a crosswalk, street corner, train or bus, supermarket and/or pharmacy, or anywhere where people are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance. “Put the mask on when you are not in socially distant places. It is your right to go out for a walk in the park, go out for a walk because you need to get out of the house. Fine, don’t infect me. You don’t have a right to infect me.”
  • April 15, 2020: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces NYC will begin daily antibody testing for 2,000 essential workers, hoping to expand to 100,000 tests a day to lay foundations to get people back to work.
  • April 15. 2020: The PA Secretary of Health issued an order requiring safety measures in all businesses permitted to maintain in-person, physical operations except for health care providers. These measures included standards for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas, establishing protocols for businesses exposed to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, limiting the numbers of employees and customers on the premises, ensuring that employees have access to soap, sanitizer, and face masks and that patrons wear face masks.
  • April 15, 2020: German Chancellor Angela Merkel lays out plans to slowly ease some restrictions in her country.
  • April 15, 2020: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a rapidly emerging viral infection causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have garnered unprecedented attention as potential therapeutic agents against COVID-19 following several small clinical trials, uncontrolled case series, and public figure endorsements. While there is a growing body of scientific data, there is also concern for harm, particularly QTc prolongation and cardiac arrhythmias. Here, we perform a rapid narrative review and discuss the strengths and limitations of existing in vitro and clinical studies. We call for additional randomized controlled trial evidence prior to the widespread incorporation of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine into national and international treatment guidelines.
  • April 15, 2020: About 14% of the U.S. workforce had filed for unemployment in the past month.
  • April 15, 2020: Protests erupt over stay-at-home orders. Demonstrators drove thousands of vehicles to Michigan’s state Capitol, protesting the state’s stay-at-home order. Protests also erupted in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.
  • April 15, 2020: Most customers and employees at businesses in Pennsylvania are now required to wear masks, according to a new state order, signed by Dr. Rachel Levine, the state health secretary. The order outlined protections for critical workers at essential and life-sustaining businesses that are still open for in-person operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.“I am ordering certain actions to be taken by employers and their employees to protect their health and lives, the health and lives of their families, and the health and lives of the residents of the Commonwealth who depend upon their services,” Dr. Levine said in the order. “Special consideration is required to protect not only customers but the workers needed to run and operate these establishments.” Among many stipulations, the order states employers must require employees to wear masks while at the worksite and require customers to wear masks while on the premises. The business must deny entry to individuals not wearing masks unless the company is providing medication, medical supplies, or food. In those cases, the business must offer alternative options, like pick-up or delivery of goods. Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, including children the age of two years, can enter the premises without providing medical documentation, according to a press release announcing the order. For employees, companies must either provide the coverings or approve a mask obtained or made by workers that meets guidance from the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Employees do not have to use the mask during a break to eat or drink. “This order provides critical protections for the workers needed to run and operate these life-sustaining establishments,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a prepared statement.
  • April 16, 2020: There were 639,664 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., with 30,985 confirmed deaths, a 4.8% mortality rate. An estimated 3.24 million tests had been conducted, indicating about 20% of those tested had coronavirus.
  • April 16, 2020: In an interview with NPR, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, stated: “[The World Health Organization] was not accurate. Had it been accurate, it would have slowed the virus and saved thousands of lives.”
  • April 16, 2020: The White House issued guidelines to states aimed at easing social distancing restrictions and reopening parts of the country. President Trump issues guidelines developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that offer states a phased approach to reopening their economies based on reductions in COVID-19 cases. The guidelines released by the president — titled, Opening Up America Again— urge states not to lift stay-at-home or travel restrictions until they reach a 14-day period in which the number of coronavirus cases is steadily declining, hospitals are not overwhelmed and robust testing is in place for health care workers and others. “The dominating drive of this was to make sure this is done in the safest way possible,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the president’s coronavirus task force, who spoke at the White House briefing alongside Mr. Trump. The plan envisions gradual reopening in two-week phases as the numbers of COVID-19 infections continue to fall. The White House strategy places responsibility for testing and tracing, and hospital capacity on states and leaves to governors the decision-making on when and how to reopen.
  • April 16, 2020: President Trump releases guidelines to restart the economy. “To preserve the health of our citizens, we must also preserve the health and functioning of our economy,” Trump said. He left the decision of whether to relax restrictions in the hands of each state. The guidelines said states should first make sure that the number of cases was headed down. “If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that,” he said. “And if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task.” Trump said that while Washington will help with the wide-scale testing required, testing is in the hands of each state. Public health researchers and state officials issued a report saying to be successful, the testing and contact tracing requires “a new national initiative that combines a massive expansion of rapid diagnostic tests in every community with an unprecedented growth in a public health workforce.”
  • April 16, 2020: For those pinning their hopes on a COVID-19 vaccine to return life to normal, an Australian expert in vaccine development has a reality check — it probably will not happen soon. Professor Frazer said the challenge is that coronaviruses have historically been hard to make safe vaccines for, partly because the virus infects the upper respiratory tract, which our immune system is not great at protecting.
  • April 16, 2020: Dr. David Brenner has discovered that a certain kind of light can kill airborne viruses, including some types of coronavirus. As the director of the Center of Radiological Research at Columbia University, Brenner has been studying ultraviolet light, also known as UV light, as a potentially life-saving weapon against the spread of viruses. UV light is known for its germicidal killing properties and is used to clean equipment and hospital areas. But it is also dangerous to humans because it can penetrate the skin and cause cancer, as well as cataracts. However, that’s not the case with a narrow band of UV light called far-UVC light. The latest study showed that far-UVC at 222 nm inactivates more than 95% of airborne aerosolized H1N1 influenza viruses at a low dose of 2 mJ/cm2. Because the light at wavelengths from 207 to 222 nm is completely absorbed by the dead outer layer of skin and by the outer tear layer of the eye, these wavelengths are safe for humans (unlike the commonly used 254 nm germicidal wavelength that can cause skin cancers, including deadly melanoma)
  • April 16, 2020: Based on the evidence to date, it seems that the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, is most likely of natural (organic) origins. Meaning the virus is not engineered or a laboratory constructs made by scientists or a purposefully manipulated enhanced virus — a bioweapon. Nevertheless, that does not rule out that a naturally occurring bat virus sample could have escaped from the only Chinese advanced high security/containment — biosafety level 4 biochemical super virology laboratory that “researches” infectious diseases in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.
  • April 16, 2020: “In March 2018, the U.S. dispatched science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who issued two ‘sensitive’ diplomatic cables about inadequate safety measures at the lab, the Washington Post reported,” citing intelligence sources. “The first cable warned the experiments conducted in the lab on coronavirus in bats ‘represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic,” according to the report. The cable, written by two US-China embassy officials, said there is a “serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” according to the report. U.S. intelligence is trying to discern when the virus was first transmitted from bat to human, and if “patient zero” was a Wuhan Institute lab employee who was infected through an accident or poor handling of materials and then may have infected others outside the lab in Wuhan.
  • April 16, 2020: New evidence has emerged that the coronavirus ravaging the globe may have escaped from a poorly equipped lab in Wuhan, China, where researchers were conducting risky viral disease experiments in the years leading up to the pandemic. In March 2018, the US dispatched science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who issued two “sensitive” diplomatic cables about inadequate safety measures at the lab. Officials in China pointed to a wet market as the supposed ground zero of the outbreak — but the market never sold bats. It was likely a strategy to deflect blame from the laboratories in Wuhan.

New evidence has emerged that the coronavirus ravaging the globe may have escaped from a poorly equipped lab in Wuhan, China, where researchers were conducting risky viral disease experiments in the years leading up to the pandemic.

  • April 17, 2020: Total number of U.S. cases tops 672,000, with nearly 34,000 deaths.
  • April 18, 2020: An F.D.A. investigation concluded that C.D.C. laboratories manufacturing problems caused contamination that rendered the United States’ first coronavirus tests ineffective. This pushed the agency to shift production to an outside firm. That company, I.D.T., accelerated production of the C.D.C. test and says no more issues were reported. The F.D.A. also came under fire for not initially allowing commercial labs like Quest and LabCorp and others to begin ramping up production of their own tests. Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., acknowledged that the agency’s quality control measures were insufficient during the coronavirus test development. Since then, he said, “C.D.C. implemented enhanced quality control to address the issue and will be assessing the issue moving forward.” To this day, the C.D.C.’s singular failure symbolizes how unprepared the federal government was in the early days to combat a fast-spreading outbreak of a new virus and it also highlights the glaring inability at the onset to establish a systematic testing policy that would have revealed the still unknown rates of infection in many regions of the country.
C.D.C. Roybal Campus, Atlanta, Georgia
  • April 19, 2020: N95 masks appear to be effective for health-care workers. This study says N95 medical-grade masks do help filter viruses that are larger than 0.1 micrometers (One micrometer, um, is one-millionth of a meter.) The coronavirus is 0.125 um. They have “efficacy at filtering smaller particles and are designed to fit tightly to the face,” it said. However, hospitals have reported a shortage of masks. Lawmakers say they should be used by medical staff who are up close and personal with patients who have COVID-19: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has said that there are only 30 million N95 masks in the national stockpile, and “as many as 300 million masks are needed in the U.S. for health-care workers.”
  • April 19, 2020: Paul Glasziou, a professor of medicine at Bond University in Australia, and Chris Del Mar, a professor of public health at Bond, analyzed a dozen studies on face masks. They concluded: “Face masks may not do much without eye protection.” Experts say masks may also remind people of the seriousness of this public health emergency. They say it’s best to avoid public settings. “People may also wear masks inappropriately, or touch a contaminated part of the mask when removing it and transfer the virus to their hand, then their eyes and thus to the nose,” they wrote in The Conversation. “Masks may also provide a false sense of security, meaning wearers might do riskier things such as going into crowded spaces and places.” Previous studies have concluded that face masks have helped reduce contagion by reducing droplets being sprayed into the air during flu season; another Japanese-based study says this works when paired with vaccination, not an option for most Americans. It may be that they work in a small number of cases and/or just wearing them helps to promote healthy behaviors.
  • April 20, 2020: Chilean health officials announce that Chile will begin issuing the world’s first digital immunity cards to people who have recovered from coronavirus, saying the cards will help identify individuals who no longer pose a health risk to others.
  • April 20, 2020: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that protests against stay-at-home orders organized on the social site qualify as “harmful misinformation’ and are removed from the platform. Zuckerberg also said: “that if something states that social distancing isn’t effective to slow the spread of the coronavirus it is deemed misinformation and taken down.” However, he added, “it is important to continue to debate policies and give their opinions, but there is a line on this.”
  • April 20, 2020: State governments have done much to address the current crisis even without a federal lockdown. Forty-three states, covering 97% of the U.S. population — have adopted “stay at home” orders. “Perhaps states should have acted sooner. But had the U.S. response to the virus been under complete federal control, it is highly likely the government would have taken longer to act” said Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University. “Some states have more severe restrictions than others. But it is unlikely that a one-size-fits-all lockdown is ideal for a large and diverse nation where conditions differ greatly between states. For example, densely populated areas like New York City may require a different approach than rural and suburban regions.”
  • April 20, 2020: Lockdown restrictions ease further worldwide. New rules relaxing restrictions on farming, banking, and public works come into force in India. European countries also took further steps to ease restrictions.
  • April 20, 2020: States announce plans to reopen. The governors of Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia announced various measures aimed at easing restrictions on some businesses in their states.
  • April 20, 2020: Georgia Governor Kemp announced that many businesses could reopen on April 24, including “gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys, and tattoo parlors”, with restaurants and movie theaters allowed to reopen on April 27. This move has brought widespread condemnation from inside and outside Georgia, with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms saying she will “continue to ask Atlantans to please stay at home” and Stacy Abrams, the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor, calling reopening “dangerously incompetent.” The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s April 21 prediction lists the earliest safe date for Georgia to shift from social distancing measures as of June 19. As of April 21, the state had over 20,000 confirmed cases.
  • April 20, 2020: Hopes for a return to normal life after the coronavirus depends upon the development of a vaccine. But there’s no guarantee, experts say, that a fully effective COVID-19 vaccine is possible. COVID-19 could be a virus that proves resistant to vaccination. The FDA has never approved a vaccine for humans that is effective against any member of the coronavirus family, which includes SARS, MERS, and several that cause the common cold. A recent study found that many patients who recovered from the disease showed very low levels of antibodies and in some cases had none at all.
  • April 20, 2020: Aytu BioScience, Inc. has signed a license from Cedars-Sinai to develop and commercialize the Healight Platform Technology (“Healight”). This medical device is being studied as a treatment for coronavirus and other respiratory infections. The technology employs proprietary methods of administering intermittent and a specific spectrum of UV-A light via a novel endotracheal medical device. Since 2016, Healight’s pre-clinical findings indicate the patent-pending technology has a significant impact on eradicating a wide range of viruses and bacteria, inclusive of coronavirus while preserving healthy cells. This therapeutic approach has the potential to significantly impact the high morbidity and mortality of coronavirus-infected patients.
  • April 29, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent states tainted lab test kits in early February that were themselves seeded with the virus, federal officials have confirmed. The contamination did not spread the virus to people, but it made test results uninterpretable, and — because testing is crucial for containment efforts — it lost the country invaluable time to get ahead of the advancing pandemic. The CDC said in a statement Saturday to the Times that the agency “did not manufacture its test consistent with its own protocol.” Though the CDC appeared reluctant to admit contamination was at the root of the problem, the Times noted that in a separate statement the CDC seemed to acknowledge such problems, saying the agency has since “implemented enhanced quality control to address the issue and will be assessing the issue moving forward.”
  • April 21, 2020: The U.S. FDA approves a home-testing kit. LabCorp, a global life sciences company based in North Carolina, received FDA authorization for kits that enable people to collect nasal swab samples at home and mail them to a laboratory for testing.
  • April 21, 2020: President Trump announces he has signed an executive order imposing restrictions on some seeking green cards for permanent residency in the US to protect Americans seeking jobs. Unemployment in the US has surged because of the economic shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. More than 26 million Americans have lost jobs. The new order will last for 60 days but does not apply to individuals entering the US temporarily such as agricultural “guest workers”. It also does not apply to those already in the US seeking to adjust their status. Other exemptions apply. Trump says he will consider renewing the order for another 60 days or longer depending on economic conditions.
  • April 21, 2020: Worldwide the number of people confirmed to have coronavirus has risen to more than three million, and at least 212,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 906,000 people have recovered.
  • April 22, 2020: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal relief program intended to provide small businesses with forgivable loans to keep workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis, will be up and running again. Both the U.S. Senate and House have voted on and approved an additional coronavirus relief package, which provides $310 billion more in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The program ran out of the initial $349 billion the federal government earmarked for it in just 13 days. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, April 24, 2020.
  • April 22, 2020: President Trump announces he has signed an executive order imposing restrictions on some seeking green cards for permanent residency in the US to protect Americans seeking jobs. Unemployment in the US has surged because of the economic shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. More than 26 million Americans have lost jobs. It also does not apply to those already in the US seeking to adjust their status. Other exemptions apply. Trump says he will consider renewing the order for another 60 days or longer depending on economic conditions. The new order will last for 60 days but does not apply to individuals entering the US temporarily such as agricultural “guest workers”.
  • April 23, 2020: When sustained community spread was established, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania moved to mitigation efforts early in the response by issuing orders to close schools and non-life-sustaining businesses; and to restrict large gatherings. This decision to respond aggressively has proven to be an essential and effective measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save an unrealized number of Pennsylvanians’ lives. Mitigation efforts have helped to curtail the spread of COVID-19 so our hospitals can treat patients without overwhelming our limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, or beds. Throughout the pandemic, Pennsylvania officials have closely monitored our hospital system capacity through the creation of a public dashboard, and we have built and distributed millions of goods and materials to help our health care system manage the influx of patients. PA Department of Health (DOH) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) have worked together to develop plans and stand up alternative care sites in the northeast and southeast so when our health care system becomes overwhelmed, we can load balance patients and supplies by keeping patient safety top of mind. At this point, alternative care sites have been identified in other areas of the commonwealth and can quickly stand up should there be a surge in other areas of the state. As the situation stabilizes, we are planning a measured and strategic approach to allowing Pennsylvanians to return to work safely to prevent a resurgence of the virus. This must be done in the most effective, efficient, and risk-averse method possible to balance our return to economic stability, while at the same time continuing to keep Pennsylvanians safe by controlling the spread of disease. The administration is utilizing a three-phase matrix to determine when counties and/or regions are ready to begin easing restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions.
Pennsylvania COVID-19 Reopening Phases
  • April 23, 2020: In 2014, the NIH approved a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which is a non-governmental research group that focuses on emerging diseases caused by human and animal interactions. The grant was designated for research into “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.” The project involved collaborating with researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study coronaviruses in bats and the risk of potential transfer to humans. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a state-controlled research institute in Wuhan, China, the city where SARS-CoV-2 probably originated. Established in 2015, the laboratory was China’s first Level 4 biosafety facility, the highest standard meant to handle highly infectious or otherwise deadly pathogens. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) informed EcoHealth Alliance that it would no longer receive funding from the agency and that the remainder of its grant had been rescinded.
  • April 23, 2020: Under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.” That provision “gives Congress plenary power over interstate commerce, meaning full, final, needing nothing to complete it,” Judge Andrew Napolitano told FOX Business. “So Congress could open up the channels of interstate commerce so long as the president signed the legislation. But Congress cannot order Gov. Murphy in New Jersey to open up restaurants and state parks.” Even though the Constitution says to regulate interstate commerce, that is commerce that goes from one state to another, the courts have allowed Congress to regulate intrastate state commerce as long as it has a direct relationship to interstate,” Napolitano said. Neither President Trump nor any state governor has the power to order people to stay home, though. “Generally, orders by governors or mayors, unless they’re authorized by the legislature, are unenforceable by criminal law,” Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, told FOX Business. “A governor can’t say it’s a crime for you not to distance or it’s a crime for you not to stay at home,” he added. “That has to be done by the legislature.” Dershowitz said the more local an issue, the greater the authority afforded to state governments, and the more national and international an issue, the greater the power granted to the federal government. For example, when it comes to schools, mayors and governors have a lot more sway than the federal government, Dershowitz said, adding that the federal government has dominance when it comes to airports, bus terminals or interstate commerce. “Since the coronavirus doesn’t recognize state boundaries, that seems to give more power to the federal government,” Dershowitz said.
  • April 24, 2020: More than 50 scientists have been working diligently to evaluate the accuracy of 14 coronavirus antibody tests. These tests are crucial to reopening the economy, but public health experts have raised urgent concerns about their quality. Of the 14 tests, only three delivered consistently reliable results. Only one of the tests never delivered a so-called false positive — that is, it never mistakenly signaled antibodies in people who did not have them. Two other tests did not deliver false-positive results 99 percent of the time. But the converse was not true. Even these three tests detected antibodies in infected people only 90 percent of the time, at best. The false-positive metric is particularly important. The result may lead people to believe themselves immune to the virus when they are not, and to put themselves in danger by abandoning social distancing and other protective measures. “There are multiple tests that look reasonable and promising,” said Dr. Alexander Marson, an immunologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the project’s leaders. “That’s some reason for optimism.”
  • April 24, 2020: Between 2012 and 2018, 28.3 million mail-in ballots remain unaccounted for, according to data from the federal Election Assistance Commission. The missing ballots amount to nearly one in five of all absentee ballots and ballots mailed to voters residing in states that do elections exclusively by mail. States and local authorities simply have no idea what happened to these ballots since they were mailed — and the figure of 28 million missing ballots is likely even higher because some areas in the country, notably Chicago, did not respond to the federal agency’s survey questions. This figure does not include ballots that were spoiled, undeliverable, or came back for any reason.
    Although there is no evidence that the millions of missing ballots were used fraudulently, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which compiled the public data provided from the Election Assistance Commission, says that the sheer volume of them raises serious doubts about election security. These questions are particularly relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing states across the country to rapidly expand vote-by-mail operations in an election year. Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden have proposed the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020, a bill that would allow every eligible voter the opportunity to vote by mail, regardless of state laws governing mail-in ballots. There’s little doubt that as the number of mail-in ballots increases, so does fraud. A 2012 report in The New York Times noted that voter fraud involving mail-in ballots “is vastly more prevalent than the in-person voting fraud that has attracted far more attention, election administrators say. In Florida, absentee-ballot scandals seem to arrive like clockwork around election time.” According to a Wall Street Journal report on voter exploitation in Hispanic communities in Texas, mail-in ballots have “spawned a mini-industry of consultants who get out the absentee vote, sometimes using questionable techniques.” Poor, elderly, and minority communities are most likely to be preyed upon by so-called ballot “brokers.” Concerns about fraud in mail-in ballots were serious enough that a 2008 report produced by the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project recommended that states “restrict or abolish on-demand absentee voting in favor of in-person early voting.” “The convenience that on-demand absentees produces is bought at a significant cost to the real and perceived integrity of the voting process,” the report added. “On the face of it, early voting can provide nearly equal convenience with significantly greater controls against fraud and coercion.” Similarly, another academic study done in 2008 from Reed College flagged various concerns related to absentee voting and conceded there is a “great deal of literature on turnout” but when it comes to mail-in ballots there is “a dearth of research on campaign effects, election costs, ballot quality, and the risk of fraud.”
  • April 27, 2020: The coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in China, has infected people in 185 countries. Its spread has left businesses around the world counting the costs.
  • April 27, 2020: The Trump administration discontinued millions of dollars in funding, which began in 2015 with the Obama administration, to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research facility in the city where the coronavirus pandemic originated. The National Institutes of Health on Friday told EcoHealth Alliance, the study’s sponsor for the past five years, that all future funding was cut. The NIH also demanded that the New York-based research nonprofit stop spending the $369,819 remaining from its 2020 grant, according to emails obtained by Politico. “At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities,” Michael Lauer, the agency’s deputy director for extramural research, wrote in a letter to EcoHealth Alliance officials.
  • April 27, 2020: A growing number of hospitals are investigating antibody testing and blood plasma therapy as a way to combat the new coronavirus in sick patients.
  • April 27, 2020: Scientists say it is highly likely that the virus came from bats but first passed through an intermediary animal in the same way that another coronavirus — the 2002 Sars outbreak — moved from horseshoe bats to cat-like civets before infecting humans. One animal implicated as an intermediary host between bats and humans is the pangolin. The International Union for Conservation of Nature says they are “the most illegally traded mammal in the world” and are prized for their meat and the claimed medicinal properties of their scales. As reported in Nature, pangolins were not listed on the inventory of items being sold in Wuhan, although this omission could be deliberate as it’s illegal to sell them. Another study claimed to have ruled out pangolins as an intermediary altogether because samples of similar viruses taken from pangolins lacked a chain of amino acids seen in the virus now circulating in humans.
  • April 28, 2020: Despite Japan’s early coronavirus exposure and little social distancing measures, Japan surprisingly reports low infection and low death rates from COVID‐19. In addition, Japan has a high population density (over 6,100 persons/sqkm in Tokyo is 2.4 times higher than New York City and a large percentage of high‐risk individuals over 65 years of age (about 26%, compared with 15% in the USA). One theory is that the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine confers protection against COVID‐19. Japan, institutes a mandatory childhood BCG vaccines against tuberculosis.
Bacillus Calmette Guerin Vaccine IP
Yunnan Province, China: Scientists from EcoHealth Alliance, search for diseases that can jump from animals to people in a bat cave. Credit: EcoHealth Alliance
  • April 28, 2020: A one-page letter from President Donald Trump started arriving over the weekend in the mailboxes of millions of Americans who received stimulus payments of up to $1,200 under a new law designed to help the economy recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “Your Economic Impact Payment Has Arrived,” says the letter’s boldface heading. The letter, written on White House stationery, opens with the salutation, “My Fellow American.” “Our great country is experiencing unprecedented public health and economic challenge as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic,” the letter says. “Our top priority is your health and safety. As we wage total war on this invisible enemy, we are also working around the clock to protect hardworking Americans like you from the consequences of the economic shutdown. We are fully committed to ensuring that you and your family have the support you need to get through this time.”
  • April 28, 2020: Some states begin to ease stay-at-home restrictions, no state that has opted to reopen has come close to the federally recommended decline in cases over 14 days. Even as the U.S. hit the grim milestone of more than 1 million cases Tuesday, one-third of the world’s total, Georgia, Minnesota, and other states are pushing to reopen businesses, even though new infection rates are still rising. Some states, such as Colorado and Kentucky, have reported fewer new cases in the past week. But no single state has had a two-week decline in case numbers.
  • April 28, 2020:The 14-day guidelines, which President Donald Trump announced April 16, “make sense,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a media briefing Tuesday while acknowledging the economic dilemma. “We want to reopen, but we want to do it without infecting more people or overwhelming the hospital system,” Cuomo said.
  • April 28, 2020: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told The Ingraham Anglethat it is wrong for Democrats to effectively keep the House of Representatives out of session for the near future. “I think the American people deserve leaders who will work day in and day out for them,” said McCarthy, who explained that he had sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a letter suggesting safe ways to keep Congress open, including holding sessions in a larger auditorium and only calling back certain committees and certain members.
  • April 28, 2020: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz released a video that reframes the current political conversation of who downplayed the novel coronavirus during its early stages. The Texas Republican released a video Tuesday addressing claims from Democrats that President Trump downplayed the coronavirus, outlining when the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China, the understood origin of the pandemic, and the actions of Trump and Congress. Over one week after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Wuhan, the video notes the Democratic House majority voted to impeach Trump for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. Approximately one month later, Chinese authorities began to punish physicians seeking to warn other countries about the outbreak. The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the United States was reported in Washington state on Jan. 21, five days after Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate began. “As the Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up was aided and abetted by the World Health Organization, which insisted there was ‘no clear evidence’ of human to human transmission of the virus, Speaker Pelosi was prepping her souvenir pens to sign and send over the sham Articles of Impeachment to the Senate,” said a Senate staffer familiar with Cruz. The video also quotes Trump’s speech during the State of the Union, addressing the looming pandemic before Congress. “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases,” Trump says. “On the coronavirus outbreak in China, my administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden accused Trump of downplaying the virus and ignoring the outbreak during its earlier spread. According to Axios, Biden’s campaign circulated those talking points among Democratic lawmakers. “Donald Trump hasn’t taken responsibility for fighting coronavirus, or for the mistakes he has made in failing to do so. He ignored the warnings from health experts, from his own advisers, and from Joe Biden. He squandered precious time during which he should have been preparing. The result: America is seeing the worst death toll from the coronavirus of any country, and precipitous loss of jobs,” wrote Biden’s deputy campaign manager, according to Axios. The memo cites Trump’s rhetoric toward China as a reason for the outbreak in the U.S., saying the president “turned a blind eye to an emerging global danger” and instead “was focused on appeasing China’s leaders as he was trying to clean up the mess in trade relations.” Despite claims from Democrats, Cruz’s video concludes with a voice-over from the Texas senator: “The games the Democrats are playing on this are ridiculous. The partisan games they’re playing are having very real consequences across the country.” The World Health Organization’s investigative report in February concluded that “early cases identified in Wuhan are believed to have acquired infection from a zoonotic source as many reported visiting or working in the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market.” In early 2020, members of the U.S. intelligence community reportedly informed Trump that China was lying about the seriousness of the virus, which has since infected more than 3 million people worldwide. Officials informed the president that China “appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak” and was “not being candid about the true scale of the crisis.” Evidence has indicated China also misled the WHO about the severity of COVID-19 to prevent investigations in Wuhan and blocked foreign medical health experts from assisting with the containment of the disease. One study indicated that if China hadn’t misled the world about the virus’s severity, the coronavirus would have been significantly less widespread.
  • April 28, 2020: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis told Hannity that his administration’s measured approach to the coronavirus pandemic — as opposed to the heavy-handed nature of shutdowns that have spurred protests in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia — has served his state well throughout the contagion. “We know who the vulnerable populations are. We know, if you look at the statistics for people under 50 who don’t have chronic conditions, I mean, you have an extremely low chance of death from this virus and those situations,” DeSantis said. “We know how to protect folks and social distance between those two groups and so, I think there’s a lot of things we’ve learned over the last six weeks. So, I think we can take a step forward here in May, continue to build on that, and get America back.”
  • April 29, 2020: The Mesa City Police Department’s homicide division is investigating the death of Gary Lenius, the Arizona man whose wife served him soda mixed with a chloroquine phosphate fish tank cleaner in what she claimed was a bid to fend off the coronavirus. A friend tells the FreeBeacon says “what bothers me about this is that Gary was a very intelligent man, a retired [mechanical] engineer who designed systems for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa, and I really can’t see the scenario where Gary would say, ‘Yes, please, I would love to drink some of that Koi fish tank cleaner.’ It just doesn’t make any sense.”
  • April 29, 2020: Oxford scientists say a vaccine may be widely available by September. Human testing is already underway. “I have a high degree of confidence about this vaccine because it’s a technology that I’ve used before,” said Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the university.
  • April 29, 2020: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus, but it plans to announce an emergency-use authorization for Remdesivir made by Gilead Sciences. The drug demonstrated a “positive effect” on recovery during a US-funded trial. The federal government received 607,000 vials of Remdesivir from Gilead Sciences and is in the process of distributing the limited supply to state health departments across the country.
Remdesivir Antiviral Liquid, Gilead Sciences
  • April 29, 2020: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said that the Senate will reconvene May 4 as scheduled.
  • April 29, 2020: U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced that the House would not reconvene from its Easter recess May 4, citing ongoing concern about the number of coronavirus cases in the National Capital Region. “The House doctor was concerned because the numbers in the District of Columbia are going up, not down,” Hoyer said. Mayor Muriel Bowser had expressed disappointment that the House will not return as originally planned. “Essential workers have to go to work,” Bowser said. “Our country needs relief, our workers need relief. Hospitals, state, and local governments need relief. So, Congress needs to work on all of those things.”
  • April 29, 2020: The U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that it is wrong for Democrats to effectively keep the House of Representatives out of session for the near future. “I think the American people deserve leaders who will work day in and day out for them,” said McCarthy, who explained that he had sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a letter suggesting safe ways to keep Congress open, including holding sessions in a larger auditorium and only calling back certain committees and certain members. “The subcommittees could be in there [and] have the rooms to themselves, get the work done, and then bring the rest of Congress back to vote on those [bills],” McCarthy said. “I don’t understand. The Democrats have no plan.” McCarthy added that while lawmakers remain in their home districts, many other workers in Washington D.C. who do not have the luxury of deciding whether to put their safety first are still going about their jobs.
  • April 29, 2020: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that his administration’s measured approach to the coronavirus pandemic — as opposed to the heavy-handed nature of shutdowns that have spurred protests in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia — has served his state well throughout the contagion. “We know who the vulnerable populations are. We know, if you look at the statistics for people under 50 who don’t have chronic conditions, I mean, you have an extremely low chance of death from this virus and those situations,” DeSantis said. “We know how to protect folks and social distance between those two groups and so, I think there’s a lot of things we’ve learned over the last six weeks. So, I think we can take a step forward here in May, continue to build on that, and get America back.” The governor said some of the state’s actions to mitigate the effects of the outbreak included “putting out seven million masks and gloves and face shields, making sure we have teams going there to try to see where the infections are coming from [and] try to work on keeping those at bay [and] sending National Guard units in to do spot testing.” DeSantis also praised state Secretary of Health Mary Mayhew for her work in preventing the spread of the virus in nursing homes, partially by preventing sick hospital patients from returning to those facilities.
  • April 30, 2020: In the global race to find a vaccine, Oxford University just jumped way ahead of the pack. Human testing is already underway, and scientists say they’re hopeful a coronavirus vaccine will be widely available by September. Technology the lab had already developed in previous work on inoculations for other viruses, including a close relative of COVID-19, gave it a head start. “I have a high degree of confidence about this vaccine because it’s a technology that I’ve used before,” said Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the university.
  • April 30, 2020: Richard Ebright, a microbiologist and biosafety expert at Rutgers University, argued that the probability of a Wuhan lab accident was “substantial,” pointing to a history of such occurrences that have infected researchers. The Wuhan labs and other centers worldwide that examine naturally occurring viruses have questionable safety rules, he said, adding, “The standards are lax and need to be tightened.”
  • April 30, 2020: No evidence supports the theory that the coronavirus originated “in a laboratory either intentionally or by accident,” Daniel R. Lucey, an expert on pandemics at Georgetown University who has closely tracked what is known about the origins. Dr. Lucey has called on China to share information about animals sold at a market in Wuhan that was linked to some of the earliest known cases of people infected with the virus. Dr. Lucey also has questions about whether the market was where the virus spilled over from animals to people. The limited information released about environmental samples taken from the market that were positive for the coronavirus does not resolve whether the source was animals sold there and/or people working or visiting the market.
  • April 30, 2020: U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the United States still has not “gained access” to the main campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of two sites that American officials who favor the lab accident theory have focused on, along with the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • April 30, 2020: According to data from the TomTom traffic index, a traffic location site that covers 416 cities across 57 countries, China effectively locked down all domestic traffic internally by the end of January 2020 but pushed to open foreign travel till the end of March. While this reduced the spread of the coronavirus within China, China’s policy of promoting foreign travel lead to a virus explosion worldwide.
  • April 30, 2020: While China continued to protest against international travel bans it successfully quarantined Wuhan and other affected cities. The total domestic lockdown of Hubei province and the flight ban imposed inside China had an immediate effect. Wuhan had a traffic density of 60% in January while Shanghai and Beijing had nearly 80% density. After the total lockdown, the average traffic density fell to below 10% in Wuhan and Shanghai during February and below 5% in Beijing. While implementing a total domestic lockdown in February, China kept assuring the world that the situation was not serious and fully under control.
  • April 30, 2020: While China limited its losses to below 5000 by end April 2020, the U.S. had lost 60,000 lives, Italy, Spain, France, and the UK above 20,000 each, and the world saw over 200,000 deaths that were nearly doubling every fortnight. Even though the virus had originated from China which initially infected citizens from 27 nations, most importantly, because of China’s open international travel policy it spread rapidly to an unprepared Europe and thereafter to the rest of the world becoming a global pandemic. So whether the virus was produced in the Wuhan Virology Institute as an exercise of bio-terrorism or simply arrived unintentionally due to bat and pangolin infected blood from its exotic animal markets in Wuhan, China is answerable for the way it allowed the virus to spread.
  • April 30, 2020: Researchers released some good news about a possible treatment for coronavirus — evidence that the experimental drug Remdesivir might help patients recover more quickly from the infection. The US Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus. But it plans to announce an emergency-use authorization for Remdesivir, according to The New York Times. The authorization could come as soon as Wednesday, The Times reported, citing a senior administration official. In a statement to CNN, the FDA said it is in talks with Gilead Sciences, the maker of Remdesivir, about making the drug available to patients. “As part of the FDA’s commitment to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments, the agency has been engaged in … discussions with Gilead Sciences regarding making Remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate,” FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said in a statement.

May 2020

Pennsylvania COVID-19 phased reopening on May 8, 2020.
Chinese Laboratory. Credit: EPA
Adding zinc to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may boost the combination's effectiveness in COVID-19.

“You should absolutely open the schools. Our country has got to get back, and it’s got to get back as soon as possible. And I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed.”

Operation Warp Speed aims to have substantial quantities of a safe and effective vaccine available for Americans by January 2021.

  • May 15, 2020: Dr. Moncef Slaoui, an immunologist who has helped create five major novel vaccines within the private sector, and Gen. Gustave Perna, a four-star general who oversees 190,000 service members, civilians, and contractors in the U.S. Army Materiel Command, will lead “Operation Warp Speed.” President Trump added that the administration has already looked at 100 vaccine candidates “from all over the world,” and has narrowed those options down to 14 in recent weeks. “There’s never been a vaccine project like this anywhere in the world,” he said.
  • May 15, 2020: HHS Secretary Alex Azar called the “Operation Warp Speed” “one of the greatest scientific and humanitarian accomplishments in history.” “Dr. Slaoui and General Perna are ideal leaders for this unprecedented effort to get vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to American patients much faster than ever before,” Azar said. “Since January, America’s scientists and innovators have been working day and night on this national effort. President Trump has refused to accept business-as-usual timelines for vaccines and other essential tools and instead has insisted that America, and the world, need answers faster. Under the president’s leadership, his administration and American industry will squeeze every last inefficiency out of the process and pour every resource we can into this effort.”
  • May 15, 2020: Operation Warp Speed is a public-private partnership to facilitate, at an unprecedented pace, the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 countermeasures, between components of HHS, including CDC, FDA, NIH, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); the Department of Defense; private firms; and other federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It will coordinate existing HHS-wide efforts, including the NIH’s ACTIV partnership for vaccine and therapeutic development, NIH’s RADx initiative for diagnostic development, and work by BARDA.
  • May 15, 2020: “In addition to deploying 62,000 military service members in direct support of fighting COVID-19 on frontlines across the globe, the Department of Defense is racing towards a vaccine,” said Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. “Through our research and development labs such as DARPA and the Defense Health Agency, and our massive logistical knowledge and capacity, we are committed to achieving the goal of Operation Warp Speed for the American people. I am confident that, as with any mission our military undertakes, we will adapt and overcome all obstacles in our path.”
  • May 15, 2020: Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican state representative from Butler County, is seeking to pose legislation calling for the impeachment of Governor Tom Wolf. “In particular, his order mandating the closure of physical locations of all businesses that he has deemed ‘non-life sustaining’ has violated our citizens’ rights in many devastating ways,” the memo read. “His order constitutes a taking of property from business owners without just compensation. The lack of due process and judicial review permitted under his order also violates the Constitution. In addition, this order coupled with the stay-at-home order has violated our rights to free speech and assembly.” Metcalfe also cited a “lack of transparency” from the Wolf administration, saying that agencies had not been responsive to requests for records or giving reasons for certain decisions made in light of the pandemic. Additionally, Metcalfe cited reported unemployment claims issues from those laid off during the crisis and that Wolf’s actions regarding nursing and care facilities during this crisis were “particularly disturbing.” “As Gov. Wolf has violated so many of our fundamental rights as citizens of the Commonwealth, I will be introducing a resolution impeaching the governor and exhibiting Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. His actions constitute the misbehavior in office required for his impeachment under the Pennsylvania Constitution,” Metcalfe wrote in the memo. “While these are certainly challenging times, Gov. Wolf must be held accountable for his actions that have harmed so many of our citizens and violated so many of our rights. No individual or office is above the law.”
  • May 15, 2020: Thirteen of Pennsylvania’s western counties moved from Stay at Home Orders (red) to the Aggressive Mitigation (yellow) phase of my COVID-19 reopening plan. This loosening of restrictions will allow more businesses to open with safety guidelines in place.
Pennsylvania’s reopening plan effective May 15, 2020.
  • May 16, 2020: Certain types of N95 mask may do more harm than good when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19. “The virus can be transmitted through the valves, which offer no filtration at all,” said Dr. Ali Raja, executive vice-chair of the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. “Any mask with a one-way valve is only going to protect the person wearing it. It won’t protect anyone around that person from potential exposure to virus particles they exhale,” he told Healthline. “It may give the people surrounding them a false sense of security.” “In the spirit of ‘your mask protects me and my mask protects you,’ a mask with a valve virtually makes that impossible,” said Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS, a microbiologist and contributor at the COVID Tracking Project. “If you don’t have anything filtering what’s going out, it’s kind of like your mouth is an open-air exhaust. And that’s the danger,” she told Healthline.
N95 mask with front valva.
N95 Mask without front valve.
  • May 17, 2020: Sharyl Attkisson’s latest Full Measure episode reports on politics, money, and medicine colliding with the COVID-19 crisis. Attkisson interviews three accomplished medical experts who are calling for the politicization of COVID-19 to come to a screeching halt because it is dangerous, scaring patients, and costing lives and the financial conflicts of interests must be further examined. They also note that the media is not helping the situation. Dr. Stephen Hatfield, a biomedical scientist who worked on Ebola asks, “Why are the press running medicine in the United States? This is not right.” Full Measure interviewed these medical experts who say they are witnessing much harm being done not only by the media, but also by those within their own profession, who negatively compare hydroxychloroquine — which has been around for 70 years, and is cheap to manufacture — and Gilead’s remdesivir, a new drug that is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As reported by Full Measure, President Trump mentioned hydroxychloroquine for promising results, and subsequently, a Department of Veterans’ Affairs report was published online in mid-April criticizing hydroxychloroquine and claiming deaths. Attkisson reports that one of the authors of that Veteran’s hydroxychloroqine report received a $247,000 grant from Gilead in 2018. “I’ve never seen science politicized in 40 years of practice,” says, Dr. William O’Neill, a cardiologist and Medical Director at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, where clinical trials are being conducting with both hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir on COVID-19 patients. Dr. O’Neill says some in the field believe there is some value with hydroxychloroquine and agrees the drug has to be tested, but wants everyone to “hold their powders,” and eventually there will be more clarity on what treatment works. To those patients prescribed Hydroxychloroquine, Dr. O’Neill claims, “I have seen no single side effect of harm.” Dr. O’Neill tells Full Measure that he has found value and improvement in all of the patients. He is studying hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 preventative drug and has tested it on 400 patients. Remdesivir was developed for those inflicted with Ebola. When tested on COVID-19 patients, the early tests did not conclude survivability — only that the patients spent four fewer days recovering in the hospital. Dr. O’Neill says that he is less impressed with remdesivir, “There is a lot of hype for the drug,” and from his observation there is “no big benefit” to remdesivir even after reading medical journal reports on it. On May 1, the FDA approved remdesivir for emergency use only on severe COVID-19 patients, and said it must be administered only in hospitals while raising caution on hydroxychloroquine and suggesting it only should be taken in a formal study. “Because of this fake news and fake science true scientific efforts are being harmed,” says Dr. O’Neill. Dr. Hatfield told Attkisson there is a campaign against hydroxychloroquine, and “lives were lost” because of it. Dr. Jane Orient, Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), told Full Measure that those who support remdesivir may have some “conflicts of interests,” and that the financial ties must be examined. “I think you have to look at the money,” says Dr. Orient, “There is no big money in hydroxychloroquine.” When Full Measure cross-referenced those on the U.S. COVID-19 Advisory Board with links to drug companies, they found 11 members. Of those 11, nine members were linked to Gilead. Upon further examination, Full Measure found seven more members with links to Gilead in the past, including two in leadership, Dr. Roy M. Gulick and Dr. Henry Masur.
  • May 18, 2020: Moderna, Inc., a U.S.biotech based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, coronavirus vaccine trial produced antibodies in eight healthy volunteers similar to those found in people who recovered from the disease, suggesting that the vaccine “has the potential to prevent” infection, according to a company executive. A few dozen volunteers participated in the first phase of the study, which took place at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Moderna’s vaccine candidate was the first to enter clinical trials, although at least seven others have followed. The biotech’s experimental vaccine uses custom-built messenger RNA ― the genetic material that directs cells to do something ― to trigger an immune response. Moderna developed the vaccine candidate with investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID conducted the first phase of the study. The data “substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose for pivotal trials,” said Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer. The results of the study have not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. But it’s not clear whether natural infection confers immunity to re-infection, and so similarly it’s not clear whether vaccination confers immunity. “That’s a good question, and the truth is, we don’t know that yet,” Zaks said. “We are going to have to conduct formal efficacy trials where you vaccinate many, many people, and then you monitor them in the ensuing months to make sure they don’t get sick.”
Moderna lab in Cambridge, MA. Credit: David L. Ryan/Boston Globe
  • May 20, 2020: Pennsylvania releases data on coronavirus in long-term-care facilities, but it’s full of errors. “We are working to correct these issues,” Health Department spokesperson Nate Wardle said in an email, acknowledging that the numbers were incorrect. He attributed the inaccuracies to problems with how local information was entered into a state health database called the Enterprise Data Dissemination Informatics Exchange. The data also showed a major problem with consistency, according to Wardle. “A significant amount of the reports were only the current counts, not cumulative counts,” he said. “We will be working to make the database usable as we receive the necessary information.” As a result, it’s nearly impossible to make any comparisons between facilities. “So far, the [Health] Department has refused to take down the data and did not provide any timeline for when they believe they will be able to begin reporting the correct data.,” the spokesperson, Shayna Varner, said.
  • May 20, 2020: Amid a growing death toll and mounting pressure from lawmakers and advocates, Pennsylvania officials released a list of long-term care facilities where the coronavirus has infected or killed residents. The information, published by the state Department of Health in a spreadsheet, shows the names of facilities, the county in which each facility is located, the number of resident cases, the number of staff cases, and the number of deaths. The state redacted information for “facilities with less than five in any of these data points.” The state later published an updated version of the data after providers raised issues with the numbers, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Brighton Rehab & Wellness Center in Beaver County reported 358 resident cases, 25 employee cases, and 76 deaths.
  • May 20. 2020: At a Senate hearing titled, “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School,” asked Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, “Sir, if, God-willing, a vaccine is developed and if we’re able to produce it as quickly as we all hope we can, I would imagine that that vaccine would be distributed to all people free of charge, or make sure at least that everybody in America who needs that vaccine will get it regardless of their income. What I’m asking is if and when the vaccine comes, it won’t do somebody any good if they don’t get it. And if they have to pay a sum of money for it in order to profit the drug companies, that will not be helpful. Are you guaranteeing the American people today that that vaccine will be available to all people regardless of their income?” “Sir, the payment of vaccines is not a responsibility of FDA, but I’m glad to take this back to the task force,” Hahn said. “I share your concern that this needs to be made available to every American.” Sanders neXT asked Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, “Poor people and working people should be last on line for the vaccine?” Said Giroir, “I will certainly advocate that everyone receives the vaccine regardless of income or any other circumstance.”
  • May 21, 2020: A team of Canadian scientists believes it has found strong strains of cannabis that could help prevent or treat coronavirus infections, according to interviews and a study. The results, printed in online journal Preprints, indicated hemp extracts high in CBD may help block proteins that provide a “gateway” for COVID-19 to enter host cells. The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, was carried out in partnership with Pathway Rx, a cannabis therapy research company, and Swysh Inc., a cannabinoid-based research company. The researchers are seeking funding to continue their efforts to support scientific initiatives to address COVID-19.
  • May 22, 2020: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of intravenous remdesivir in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 with evidence of lower respiratory tract involvement concluded that Remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery.
  • May 22, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance earlier this month to emphasize the coronavirus does not spread easily on surfaces, focusing more on human-to-human transmission. “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.” However, “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads,” according to the CDC. The CDC now estimates that 35% of all people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, but notes those individuals are “100%” as infectious as those with symptoms. Also, 40% of the virus’ transmission happens before people feel sick, the CDC estimates — highlighting the need for social distancing and masks. The CDC agency suspects the meantime between exposure and feeling symptoms is 6 days. “The biggest issue is that people are picking up COVID-19 from other people,” Marilyn Roberts, a microbiologist, and professor at the University of Washington, previously told the NY Post. “They’re not picking it up from surfaces.” The change comes after a preliminary study from March suggested that the novel coronavirus can remain in the air for up to three hours, and live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, prompting many to take to wiping down packages and other items. However, at the time, the study was yet not peer-reviewed, and, as Yahoo notes, did not determine if people could be infected from touching certain surfaces analyzed. Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, called the CDC’s changes an “important step in clarifying how the virus is spread, especially as we gain new information.” “It also may help reduce anxiety and stress. Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,” Whyte told Fox News in an email. Dr. William Schaffner, the medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, echoed Whyte. “The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person (within about 6 feet). Person-to-person contact is a highway. Touching infected surfaces are little paths, but they don’t carry the big viral traffic,” he told Fox News in an email. “To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the safest thing is to continue social distancing, wear masks, and wash hands frequently and thoroughly.” Indeed, the CDC on its updated page reiterated important steps to take to prevent exposure to the virus. Maintaining a “good social distance,” (keeping 6 feet away from others while in public), as well as washing hands often and “routinely” cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces were listed as key precautions.
  • May 22, 2020: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mid-April issued a statement saying that there was no evidence to suggest the virus can spread through food or what it’s wrapped in and that there was no need to wipe down groceries or food packaging after you’ve returned home from the grocery store. “We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” the FDA said.
  • May 22, 2020: Governor Tom Wolf announced 12 additional Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020. “Through our social distancing efforts, we have not only reversed a trajectory of exponential new case growth — we have cut it in half,” Gov. Wolf said. “And some of the counties that will be shifting into the yellow phase next week eliminated concerns that we had just two weeks ago. So please, keep up your efforts in the fight so we can continue to add counties to the list of those in the yellow phase. Thank you again for your patience and your hard work.” The reopening plan prioritizes the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians by using a combination of factors to gauge how much movement a location can tolerate before the 2019 novel coronavirus becomes a threat, including metrics developed in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh that will be released twice each week. Wolf stressed that this plan is not a one-way route. The state is closely monitoring the counties in the yellow phase and will re-impose restrictions if danger arises. If the new case count begins to climb in one area, restrictions will need to be imposed to prevent local medical facilities from becoming overwhelmed. So, Pennsylvanians should continue to make good choices.
Pennsylvania COVID-19 phased reopening May 22, 2020.
Pennsylvania COVID-19 reopening phases on May 22, 2020.

More than 100,000 people have died from coronavirus in the U.S., the highest death toll of any nation, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

  • May 28, 2020: Today the number of people in the United States who have died from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000. Families, friends, coworkers, loved ones, and community members are grieving for each person who has been lost to this disease. Reaching the milestone of 100, 000 persons lost in such a short time frame is a sobering development and a heart-breaking reminder of the horrible toll of this unprecedented pandemic. COVID-19 has touched families in every part of America — with communities across the country experiencing the pandemic in different ways. As many communities are strategically reopening, it is important for everyone to work together to continue efforts to prevent community spread of COVID-19. We ask that all Americans continue to follow the guidance of their state and local health authorities and to do their part to embrace prevention strategies, including social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene on a regular basis, improved sanitation, and wearing a cloth face-covering in public where the situation suggests, so as to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable such as the frail and elderly with co-morbid health conditions and those with compromised immune systems.
  • May 28, 2020: A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that that systemic anticoagulants “may be associated with improved outcomes among patients hospitalized with COVID-19”, but that any potential benefits must be weighed against the risk of bleeding. Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help treat symptoms of COVID-19 like high temperatures. However, the NHS recommends trying paracetamol first, as it has fewer side effects than ibuprofen and is the safer choice for most people.

June 2020

  • June 2, 2020: The World Health Organization struggled to get needed information from China during critical early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to recordings of internal meetings that contradict the organization’s public praise of Beijing’s response to the outbreak. The recordings, obtained by the Associated Press (AP), show officials complaining in meetings during the week of 6 January that Beijing was not sharing data needed to evaluate the risk of the virus to the rest of the world. It was not until 20 January that China confirmed coronavirus was contagious and 30 January that the WHO declared a global emergency. “We’re going on very minimal information,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and the WHO technical lead for Covid-19, according to the AP. “It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.” The WHO’s top official in China, Gauden Galea, said in one of the recordings: “We’re currently at the stage where yes, they’re giving it to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV [Chinese state TV].” The report comes amid growing international scrutiny of China’s handling of the outbreak and moves to establish an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, which has infected more than 6 million and killed more than 375,000 people around the world.
  • June 2, 2020: In early January, Michael Ryan, the WHO’s chief of emergencies, said he feared a repeat of the Sars epidemic in 2002, which Chinese officials initially covered up. “This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on,” he said, according to the AP report. “The WHO barely got out of that one with its neck intact given the issues that arose around transparency in southern China.” Ryan criticized China for not cooperating and advised for applying more pressure on Beijing. “This would not happen in Congo and did not happen in Congo and other places,” he said, apparently referring to the Ebola outbreak. “We need to see the data. It’s absolutely important at this point.” Warnings and reports of a mysterious Sars-like virus began to filter out of Wuhan city in December but were suppressed by authorities. On 9 January, Chinese state media announced the illness was the result of a new coronavirus but said it was not contagious. Almost two weeks later, officials admitted the virus was transmittable, as hospitals in the city were already flooded with patients, and cases were appearing across the region. Authorities locked down Wuhan on January 23, but at least 5 million residents had left, traveling across the country as well as overseas before the lunar new year holiday.
  • June 2, 2020: Overall, 27% of adults in an ABC News/Washington Post poll say they definitely (15%) or probably (12%) would not get the vaccine. Among them, half say they don’t trust vaccines in general, while nearly a quarter don’t think it’s needed in this case.
Main reason for not getting vaccinated
  • June 2, 2020: As researchers continue to uncover the long list of Covid-19 symptoms, some physicians are beginning to explore the disease’s possible long-term effects on patients with more severe symptoms. Joseph Brennan, a cardiologist at the Yale School of Medicine, and other experts now worry there may be a subset of patients who suffer long-term damage. For instance, Lois Parshley reports for Vox, research on other coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), suggest some people can take years to recover. Physicians warn that Covid-19 survivors may experience long-lasting cardiac damage and cardiovascular problems, which could increase their risk for heart attack and stroke. Doctors also warn Covid-19 could worsen existing heart problems. Physicians have also found evidence of scarring in Covid-19 patients’ lungs. According to Parshley, some CT scans show Covid-19 patients have light gray patches on their lungs called “ground-glass opacities,” which don’t always heal. One Chinese study found the patches in 77% of patients, Parshley reports. Brennan explained that the “virus creates an incredibly aggressive immune response” that causes “spaces [in the lungs to be] filled with debris and pus, making your lungs less pliable.” According to Brennan, this type of lung damage can be permanent and could result in reduced lung capacity. “Routine things, like running up a flight of stairs, would leave these individuals gasping for air,” he said. While it’s too soon to tell whether the lung damage in Covid-19 patients will be permanent, research shows that about one third of survivors of similar coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS had long-term lung damage. Mitchell Elkind, president-elect of the American Heart Association and professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University, said doctors should be “on the lookout for long-term neurocognitive problems,” including decreased concentration and memory as well as dysfunction of the peripheral nerves that lead to the “arms, legs, fingers, and toes.”
  • June 4, 2020: Two COVID-19 studies appearing in major journals that relied on data from Surgisphere Corp. were retracted today. One was the large study in The Lancet published May 22 that found mortality and arrhythmia risks with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ); the other was in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 1 and purported to show that certain antihypertensive drugs did not worsen COVID-19 risk. The HCQ study, which made headlines worldwide, found hospitalized COVID-19 patients receiving the drug with or without an antibiotic had increased mortality and higher rates of cardiac arrhythmias. It purportedly analyzed data from around 96,000 patients, 15,000 of whom received HCQ or chloroquine, with or without an antibiotic. Surgisphere was said to have provided the data from 671 hospitals on six continents. Statisticians and independent researchers had questioned both papers veracity and both journals recently posted “expressions of concern” in response.
  • June 5, 2020: Gov. Tom Wolf will allow 12 more counties that are home to 1.3 million people to enter the least-restrictive phase of his pandemic reopening plan, even as he warned Friday of an outbreak in northwestern Pennsylvania. Wolf said that the counties — Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne, Wyoming, and York — can join the “green” phase of his stoplight-colored reopening plan on June 12 . Sixteen more counties entered the “green” phase on June 5, joining 18 others. That means that gyms, barbers, and hair salons can reopen, as indoor dining at restaurants and bars. Overnight camps and organized youth sports can begin or resume, and gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed, although large demonstrations over the past week around Pennsylvania protesting police brutality routinely exceeded 250 people.
Pennsylvania COVID-19 Reopening Green Phase

“Comprehensive studies on transmission from asymptomatic individuals are difficult to conduct, but the available evidence from contact tracing reported by Member States suggests that asymptomatically-infected individuals are much less likely to transmit the virus than those who develop symptoms.”

  • June 9, 2020:From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual. It’s very rare.” That’s Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, seemingly contradicting what many have been led to believe about the transmission of the coronavirus. In other words, while it still happens in some cases, patients without symptoms aren’t generally the ones driving the spread. This flies in the face of previous research warning the disease could be difficult to contain because of asymptomatic infections. “We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,” Van Kerkhove said at a briefing Monday from the U.N.’s headquarters. “They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward.” Back in April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on the “potential for presymptomatic transmission” as a reason for maintaining social-distancing restrictions. “To control the pandemic, it might not be enough for only persons with symptoms to limit their contact with others because persons without symptoms might transmit infection,” the CDC found. Ashish Jha, incoming dean at the Brown School of Public Health, addressed some of the questions that bubbled up after the WHO’s latest findings were announced, and questioned whether WHO was referring to truly asymptomatic cases (those who have the disease but never develop symptoms) or pre-symptomatic (those who have the virus before they start showing symptoms). Jha added: “@WHO communication here not stellar. If folks without symptoms truly ’very rarely’ spread virus, would be huge. But such a statement by @WHO should be accompanied by data. Asymptomatic spread is Achille’s heal of this outbreak. Would love to be wrong. Need to see data.” Peter Hotez, an infectious disease expert at Baylor University, also entered the conversation: The takeaway: Clearly, there are still a lot of unknowns about the coronavirus.

From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual. It’s very rare.”

  • June 9, 2020: The proportion of people who never get COVID-19 symptoms but go on to infect others is still mostly unknown, Maria Van Kerkhove, MD, the technical lead for the WHO’s pandemic response, said in a video interview posted to social media. Van Kerkhove was clarifying an answer she gave at a World Health Organization news briefing on Monday. In response to a reporter’s question, she said transmission of the virus from people who never develop symptoms appears to be “very rare.” there are two distinct kinds of silent transmission: “asymptomatic” (spreading a disease when you don’t have symptoms) and “presymptomatic” (spreading it before symptoms start). Both are difficult to stop. Presymptomatic spread is believed to be far more common than asymptomatic spread. Van Kerkhove said published and unpublished studies suggest that between 6% and 41% of people who test positive for the virus will be asymptomatic. Even less is known about what proportion of these people go on to infect others. It’s been difficult for researchers to document asymptomatic transmission. By their very nature, these cases fly under the radar of doctors because patients don’t show signs of being sick. Most studies have found cases in very specific situations where asymptomatic patients have been discovered as part of an investigation of a group of related cases. An example: Passengers who are on the same airline flight or cruise, or family members living in the same house. While experts agree that people can pass COVID-19 without ever having symptoms, one question has been how someone without symptoms could infect others since they aren’t doing the things that would normally push out the virus, like coughing and sneezing. While true asymptomatic transmission might be uncommon, what’s likely to be more common is presymptomatic transmission. Presymptomatic transmission also occurs with the flu. Studies have shown that people with COVID-19 can infect others anywhere from 1 to 3 days before they get sick, Van Kerkhove said.
  • June 9, 2020: For months, researchers have warned that people without any COVID-19 symptoms could still be silent carriers of the disease, making it that much harder to get the pandemic under control — and that much more important to take precautions like social distancing and wearing a mask, even if you feel fine. So it came as a surprise when Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical lead for COVID-19, said at a press briefing on June 8 that asymptomatic transmission appears to be “very rare.” Her statement came just days after the organization directed healthy people living in areas with widespread community transmission to wear fabric face masks in public to help contain the advance of the disease. In an interview with TIME following the press briefing, Van Kerkhove said she did not mean to suggest that asymptomatic people cannot spread COVID-19. “I did not say that asymptomatic cases cannot transmit; they can,” Van Kerkhove says. “The question is, do they? And if they do, how often is that happening?” Van Kerkhove says there’s not yet a clear answer, but the WHO’s analyses suggest symptomatic individuals are responsible for most coronavirus transmission. The WHO laid out its thinking in its latest guidance on face masks, which was circulated on June 5, and was based on a number of reports that examined COVID-19 community spread and transmission dynamics, as well as not-yet-published findings from contact-tracing reports from multiple WHO member states. Few of the cited papers explicitly examined population-level asymptomatic transmission rates. One, a preprint (i.e., not-yet peer-reviewed) research review posted to the site MedRxiv on June 4, analyzed four previous studies (two published and two preprint) that estimated asymptomatic transmission rates. The highest estimate was a transmission rate of 2.2%, suggesting “asymptomatic spread is unlikely to be a major driver of clusters or community transmission of infection.” The WHO’s guidance also notes that some studies that have found evidence for asymptomatic transmission had small sample sizes, which would make their findings less statistically relevant. In addition, the WHO said, some of these studies did not rule out alternative explanations for how some patients may have contracted the virus, like touching a contaminated surface. However, just last week, researchers from the Scripps Research Translational Institute published a paper estimating that asymptomatic individuals account for up to 45% of coronavirus cases, and noted that “the viral load of such asymptomatic persons has been equal to that of symptomatic persons, suggesting similar potential for viral transmission.” One of the study’s author’s, Scripps Director Dr. Eric Topol, criticized the WHO’s comments on Twitter, writing that “there are several studies not included in [the WHO’s] brief statement that counter the scant data provided here.” Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington, wrote on Twitter that the WHO’s conclusions were based on “thin evidence,” at least when taking into account what has been published publicly. Bergstrom also said the organization should have more clearly distinguished between people who are “truly” asymptomatic — those who never show symptoms — and those who may unwittingly spread the disease in the days before they become symptomatic. Topol’s study on asymptomatic transmission found that few people who test positive without symptoms go on to develop them, but studies suggest it takes an average of five days after exposure to the virus for symptoms to surface. People in this phase would be considered pre-symptomatic, not asymptomatic, but it’s difficult to tell the difference. “Even if truly asymptomatic spread is very rare, pre-symptomatic transmission is likely to be important,” Bergstrom wrote on Twitter. “We still need to wear masks and distance to avoid spreading the virus during this period, probably concentrated in days 3–6 after infection.” Van Kerkhove acknowledged that distinction when speaking with TIME after the press briefing, and added that it can be difficult to distinguish between a mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic person. Some people may not associate mild symptoms — like fatigue or muscle aches — with COVID-19, but these individuals would still technically be symptomatic and capable of spreading the virus, Van Kerkhove says. With so much uncertainty, Van Kerkhove says more research on transmission patterns and asymptomatic carriers is required. She says people should continue following public-health guidance such as wearing fabric face masks when social distancing is not possible, and should stay home if they feel unwell. Doing so, in conjunction with robust contact tracing and isolation of people with symptoms, will help keep COVID-19 spread under control, she says. “We’re not ruling anything out,” Van Kerkhove says. “We’re not saying that [asymptomatic spread is] not happening. But we’re saying more transmission is happening among symptomatic individuals. People are looking for a binary, and it’s not that.” Bergstrom was more direct. The WHO’s statement “seems to suggest that people without symptoms don’t spread COVID19,” Bergstrom tweeted. “Does this mean shoppers, students, protesters, etc., don’t need masks/ distancing? No.”

“Even if truly asymptomatic spread is very rare, pre-symptomatic transmission is likely to be important,” … “We still need to wear masks and distance to avoid spreading the virus during this period, probably concentrated in days 3–6 after infection.”

  • June 10, 2020: Stock futures fell sharply in early trading for Thursday, June 11, as coronavirus cases increased in some states that are reopening up from lockdowns. Shares that have surged recently on hopes for a smooth reopening of the economy dropped in premarket trading. Concerns about a second wave of coronavirus cases have risen as U.S. states push deeper into reopening. Texas has reported three consecutive days of record-breaking Covid-19 hospitalizations. Nine California counties are reporting a spike in new coronavirus cases or hospitalizations of confirmed cases, AP reported Wednesday. Overall coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 2 million, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow are still up more than 45% from the coronavirus low. The incredible comeback started with investors betting on technology companies like Amazon, but in the last month reopening bets like airlines have been the biggest gainers. On Wednesday, investors assessed the Federal Reserve’s updates on the economy and monetary policy. The policymakers voted unanimously to keep interest rates unchanged and indicated no rate increases through 2022. “The Fed understands we are just in the beginning phases of the economic recovery and making rash changes to policy or forward guidance is premature at this time,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, said in an email. The Fed also said it will at least maintain the current pace of bond purchases for the coming months. Additionally, it expects the U.S. economy to contract by 6.5% in 2020 before expanding by 5% in 2021. Investors are awaiting the new jobless claim data for the week ending June 6, which is set to come out at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect filings for unemployment insurance claims to total 1.595 million last week, which is down from 1.775 million in the week before.
  • June 10, 2020: A British-Norwegian study alleges COVID-19 has “inserted sections,” calling it artificially manipulated “chimera” made in the Wuhan virology lab and not occurring naturally, according to a report by Taiwan News. Pointing to the lack of virus mutation since it has spread worldwide, the scientists suspect it was already fully adapted in the lab before being released, per the report. University of London Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian virologist Birger Sorensen conducted the study and published it in Cambridge University’s QRB Discovery. A British-Norwegian study alleges COVID-19 has “inserted sections,” calling it artificially manipulated “chimera” made in the Wuhan virology lab and not occurring naturally, according to a report by Taiwan News. Pointing to the lack of virus mutation since it has spread worldwide, the scientists suspect it was already fully adapted in the lab before being released, per the report. University of London Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian virologist Birger Sorensen conducted the study and published it in Cambridge University’s QRB Discovery. Sorensen told Norway’s NRK, per the reports translation, it is “quite unusual for viruses that cross species barriers” and has properties vastly different than SARS and “which have never been detected in nature.” Sorensen added the belief COVID-19 is the result of “gain of function studies” being conducted in China, saying the both the U.S. and China have been conducting such research for years. “I think this started as an accident,” according to former M16 Chief Sir Richard Dearlove, Taiwan News reported. “This raises the question of whether China will assume responsibility and whether China should pay compensation.” Gain of function studies artificially manufacture the virus so it can be replicated easier to conduct a multiple of scientific studies, according to the report. “The inserted sequences should never have been published,” Sorensen wrote, per the report. “Had it been today, it would never have happened. It was a big mistake the Chinese made. The inserted sequences have a functionality that we describe. We explain why they are essential. But the Chinese pointed to them first.

COVID-19 is the result of “gain of function studies” being conducted in China, saying the both the U.S. and China have been conducting such research for years.

  • June 10, 2020: A joint British-Norwegian study alleges that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is a “chimera” constructed in a Chinese lab. A study, authored by University of London Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian virologist Birger Sorensen and published in Cambridge University’s QRB Discovery, claims that Sars-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, did not evolve naturally but rather was artificially manipulated. Specifically, the authors allege that the spike proteins of the virus contain “inserted sections.” The study’s authors also pointed out that the virus has hardly mutated since it began to infect humans, apparently suggesting that it was already fully adapted to human biology in the laboratory. Sorensen told Norway’s NRK on Monday (June 8) that this is “quite unusual for viruses that cross species barriers.” He added that the covid-19 virus has properties that differ greatly from SARS and “which have never been detected in nature.” After carefully examining the genetic sequence of the virus, he said that it did not appear to have evolved from natural processes. Sorenson told the news agency that he believes the virus is related to a number of “gain of function studies” being carried out in China. He also said that the U.S. and China had been collaborating on such research in advanced labs for many years. The purpose of the gain of function studies is to artificially increase the transmissibility of a virus to make it easier to repeat scientific experiments quickly. Such manipulated viruses are referred to as “chimera.” Sorensen claims that at the early stages of the outbreak, Chinese scientists discussed the modified sequences in the virus. However, he said he believes that in recent months, the Chinese government has suppressed all public discourse on the subject. “The inserted sequences should never have been published. Had it been today, it would never have happened. It was a big mistake the Chinese made. The inserted sequences have a functionality that we describe. We explain why they are essential. But the Chinese pointed to them first.” In response to the study, former M16 Chief Sir Richard Dearlove on June 4 told the Telegraph that the findings indicate the outbreak started with a leak from a Chinese lab. “I think this started as an accident. This raises the question of whether China will assume responsibility and whether China should pay compensation,” said Dearlove. Indeed, a report by Medium notes that Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) scientist Shi Zhengli, also known as “Bat Woman,” and her team had been making “chimeric constructs” as early as 2007 and as recently as 2017. As part of a US$3.7 million U.S. NIH grant, Shi in 2019 wrote about using “S protein sequence data, infectious clone technology, in vitro and in vivo infection experiments” on Sarsr-CoV. When the Sars-CoV2 genome was first sequenced and released to the public on Jan. 10, no closely related strains were known. However, on Jan. 23, Shi published a paper in which she stated that Sars-CoV2 was 96 percent identical to RaTG13, a strain she and her team had discovered in bats in Yunnan in 2013. Shi claimed that Sars-CoV2 is too different from RaTG13 to have leaked from her lab. However, she has never provided the original samples from Yunnan to allow independent labs to sequence them to confirm that they have not been tampered with. China has yet to allow an outside team of scientists to enter the WIV and review records of and samples from Shi’s gain of function studies on bat coronaviruses. Beijing has also not allowed independent investigators to review lab security camera footage or interview staff. Currently, the scientific community is relying on Shi’s claim “on my life” that the pandemic did not start in her lab.

The covid-19 virus has properties that differ greatly from SARS and “which have never been detected in nature.”

Coronavirus Spike Protein Inserts
  • June 11, 2020: During a June 8 press briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO’s technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic, said that asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus “appears to be rare.” That small statement caused an uproar, contradicting what many public health experts have been saying for months about asymptomatic spread. Further clarifying, Van Kerkhove said that when health officials review cases that are initially reported as asymptomatic, “we find out that many have really mild disease.” She revealed that there are some infected people who are “truly asymptomatic,” but countries that are carrying out in-depth contact tracing aren’t uncovering “secondary transmission onward” from those cases. “It’s very rare,” she added. The WHO backtracked at a question-and-answer session the following day, STAT reported, and Van Kerkhove stressed that the actual rates of asymptomatic transmission aren’t yet known. “The majority of transmission that we know about is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets,” she said. “But there are a subset of people who don’t develop symptoms, and to truly understand how many people don’t have symptoms, we don’t actually have that answer yet.” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s Good Morning America on June 10 that the WHO’s initial comment “was not correct.” He said 25% to 45% of people who are infected with COVID-19 likely don’t have symptoms, adding, “We know from epidemiological studies they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they’re without symptoms. So to make a statement to say that’s a rare event was not correct.”
  • June 11, 2020: No study exists that shows a benefit from a broad policy to wear masks in public. There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles. The relevant known physics and biology are such that masks and respirators should not work. It would be a paradox if masks and respirators worked, given what we know about viral respiratory diseases: The main transmission path is long-residence-time aerosol particles (< 2.5 μm), which are too fine to be blocked, and the minimum-infective dose is smaller than one aerosol particle. In light of the medical research, it is difficult to understand why public-health authorities are not consistently adamant about this established scientific result, since the distributed psychological, economic, and environmental harm from a broad recommendation to wear masks is significant, not to mention the unknown potential harm from concentration and distribution of pathogens on and from used masks. In this case, public authorities would be turning the precautionary principle on its head. By making mask-wearing recommendations and policies for the general public, or by expressly condoning the practice, governments have both ignored the scientific evidence and done the opposite of following the precautionary principle. In an absence of knowledge, governments should not make policies that have a hypothetical potential to cause harm. The government has an onus barrier before it instigates a broad social-engineering intervention, or allows corporations to exploit fear-based sentiments. Furthermore, individuals should know that there is no known benefit arising from wearing a mask in a viral respiratory illness epidemic, and that scientific studies have shown that any benefit must be residually small, compared to other and determinative factors. Otherwise, what is the point of publicly funded science? This review about masks illustrates the degree to which governments, the mainstream media, and institutional propagandists can decide to operate in a science vacuum, or select only incomplete science that serves their interests. Such recklessness is also certainly the case with the current global lockdown of over 1 billion people, an unprecedented experiment in medical and political history.
  • June 11, 2020: With more states easing restrictions after the coronavirus lockdown, the U.S. recently surpassed 2 million cases of COVID-19, prompting public health experts to worry about a second wave of the virus. In 21 states, cases spiked over the past week, NBC News’ Erin McLaughlin reported. New Mexico and Florida have seen a 40% increase, and in Utah and Arkansas, which never instituted statewide stay-at-home orders, cases are up 60%. Officials in Arizona, where cases have risen 93%, have urged hospitals to activate their emergency plans. n light of the new numbers, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, called the coronavirus pandemic his “worst nightmare … Like oh, my goodness, when is it going to end?” he said. “It really is very complicated. So we’re just at almost the beginning of really understanding.” While some people, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, have speculated that these growing numbers are due to more widespread testing, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told TODAY on Thursday that this theory doesn’t explain the rise in hospitalizations in at least nine states. “That’s coming from just more people getting sick and needing hospital care,” he said. “We’ve been so behind in our testing approach for months that we were missing most of the cases out there … As testing’s gotten better, we’ve identified more cases. Testing is a part of the story but certainly doesn’t explain the whole thing.” The “concerning” numbers, as Jha described them, come about two weeks after Memorial Day, “and this is what we’re worried about,” he said. “I’d hoped that (because) people are spending more time outside … that we would not see such a big increase so fast, but it’s more concerning than I’d hoped.” Asked whether nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice are contributing to these increases, Jha said he thinks they’re “going to fuel more cases” and stressed the importance of protestors wearing masks. “I’ve seen some protests where most people are wearing masks, others where they’re not,” he said. “It’s really critical that people wear masks because we think, as the data’s coming in, that can really help a lot.” Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, Jha explained that if the current number of coronavirus deaths per day in the U.S. — between 800 and 1,000 — stays the same, roughly 25,000 to 30,000 people will continue to die every month. Because the current total of U.S. coronavirus deaths is around 113,000, that means “sometime in September, we’re going to cross 200,000, and we still won’t be done,” Jha said. “This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine. This is not faded.” He continued: “We don’t have to live with hundreds of thousands of Americans dying. We do have to get people to wear masks. We do have to do as much social distancing as possible. And while we’ve gotten better on testing, we’re nowhere near where we need to be … We really need the federal government to step in and decide that it doesn’t want to have hundreds of thousands of Americans dying and help states ramp up testing and tracing. That’s the other piece of this that’s still missing.” Addressing the possibility of another lockdown, he said, “The longer we wait, the harder it is to avoid … We basically ignored the virus for all of February and a good chunk of March, and then we had to shut down. My point is, let’s not do that again.”

This pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine.

  • June 12, 2020: A study by a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor has found that not wearing a face mask dramatically increases a person’s chances of being infected by the COVID-19 virus. The team examined the chances of COVID-19 infection and how the virus is easily passed from person to person. From trends and mitigation procedures in China, Italy and New York City, the researchers found that using a face mask reduced the number of infections by more than 78,000 in Italy from April 6-May 9 and by over 66,000 in New York City from April 17-May 9. “Our results clearly show that airborne transmission via respiratory aerosols represents the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19,” Zhang said. “By analyzing the pandemic trends without face-covering using the statistical method and by projecting the trend, we calculated that over 66,000 infections were prevented by using a face mask in little over a month in New York City. We conclude that wearing a face mask in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent inter-human transmission. This inexpensive practice, in conjunction with social distancing and other procedures, is the most likely opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • June 15, 2020: A return to normalcy following the Covid-19 pandemic could come within a year, but people need to tamp down their expectations for typical summer travel and activities, Dr. Anthony Fauci told British newspaper The Telegraph. The latest time frame comes on the heels of a week that saw the national case count cross 2 million. Cases have increased in 18 states over the past week, with six states reporting more than a 50% jump. This has led some government and health officials to hit pause on reopening efforts. More than 115,000 people have died in the United States as of this afternoon, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. “It’s going to be really wait and see,” Fauci told The Telegraph in an article published June 14. “My feeling, looking at what’s going on with the infection rate, I think it’s more likely measured in months rather than weeks,” he said referring to the timeline for rolling back restrictions. As health experts continue to learn more about the virus, it’s clear that a time frame for when the situation will be deemed under control is still unknown.
  • June 16, 2020: A coronavirus model once used by the White House now projects more than 200,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 by October 1. The prediction went up by more than 30,000 since last week. As of Tuesday, more than 116,000 people in the U.S. have died of the coronavirus, and the death toll is still growing by hundreds per day. Infection rates and hospitalizations are rising in numerous states as businesses open up and people drop precautions. According to the latest model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, a research institute once utilized by the White House for coronavirus projections, another 85,000 or so deaths are now projected by October 1.
  • June 16, 2020: The COVID-19 particle is about 0.1 microns in size, but it is always bonded to something larger. “There is never a naked virus floating in the air or released by people,” said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech who specializes in airborne transmission of viruses. The virus attaches to water droplets or aerosols that are generated by breathing, talking, coughing, etc. These consist of water, mucus protein and other biological material and are all larger than 1 micron. “Breathing and talking generate particles around 1 micron in size, which will be collected by N95 respirator filters with very high efficiency,” said Lisa Brosseau, a retired professor of environmental and occupational health sciences who spent her career researching respiratory protection. Health care precautions for COVID-19 are built around stopping the droplets, since “there’s not a lot of evidence for aerosol spread of COVID-19,” said Patrick Remington, a former CDC epidemiologist and director of the Preventive Medicine Residency Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. N95 masks actually have that name because they are 95% efficient at stopping particles.
  • June 16, 2020: COVID-19 can be transmitted between people who are standing more than four feet apart, even if they are wearing a mask, a new study has found. The research, published in Physics of Fluids, notes that face coverings alone do not prevent droplets of fluid that are projected by a cough, a discovery the researchers called “alarming.” It adds to the importance to also maintain proper social distancing measures, they said. The same researchers found previously that droplets of saliva can travel 18 feet in five seconds when an unmasked person coughs, so masks are important. However, repeated coughs are likely to reduce their effectiveness, the experts found in the new study, using computer models. “The use of a mask will not provide complete protection,” study co-author and University of Nicosia professor Dimitris Drikakis said in a statement. “Therefore, social distancing remains essential.” If a person has a coughing fit, “many droplets penetrate the mask shield and some saliva droplet disease-carrier particles can travel more than 1.2 meters (4 feet),” Drikakis added. The calculations from the simulation also noted that droplet size could be affected due to hitting the mask, escaping and eventually, entering the environment. “The droplet sizes change and fluctuate continuously during cough cycles as a result of several interactions with the mask and face,” Drikakis explained. “Masks decrease the droplet accumulation during repeated cough cycles,” Dr. Talib Dbouk, the study’s co-author, added. “However, it remains unclear whether large droplets or small ones are more infectious.” The study’s findings have implications for health care workers, who are often unable to maintain proper social distancing. The researchers suggested wearing “much more complete personal protective equipment,” including helmets with built-in air filters, face shields, disposable gowns and two sets of gloves. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization updated its guidance to recommend that governments around the world encourage the widespread use of fabric face masks while in public settings. Initially, the WHO advised only those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are caring for someone infected with the novel virus to wear a face mask. The WHO’s new recommendations also lag behind those from other top health agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In April, the CDC updated its guidelines to recommend all Americans wear cloth face coverings while in public, “especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” As of Tuesday morning, more than 8 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, more than 2.1 million of which are in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.
  • June 21, 2020: The World Health Organization today reported more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours. The U.N. health agency said Brazil led the way with 54,771 cases tallied. The United States was next at 36,617. Experts said rising case counts can reflect multiple factors including more widespread testing as well as a broader infection.
    In the U.S., the virus appears to be spreading across the West and South. Arizona reported over 3,100 new infections, just short of Friday’s record, and 26 deaths. The U.S. has the world’s highest number of reported infections, over 2.2 million, and the highest death toll, at about 120,000, according to Johns Hopkins. Health officials say robust testing is vital for tracking outbreaks and keeping the virus in check.
  • June 21, 2020: Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said that the White House was working to prepare for the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, though he said it wouldn’t necessarily come. “We are filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible problem in the fall,” Mr. Navarro told Jake Tapper on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “We’re doing everything we can.” Mr. Navarro indicated that China’s leaders may have done it on purpose and revisiting the claim that the virus was a Chinese bioweapon. Most American intelligence agencies remain skeptical. “China created this pandemic,” he told Mr. Tapper. “They hid the virus. They created the virus. They sent over hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens here to spread that around and around the world. Whether they did that on purpose, that’s an open question.” “They are guilty until proven innocent,” Mr. Navarro said, saying that China should be “responsible for the trillions of dollars of damage that they’ve inflicted on us.”
  • June 21, 2020: Strikingly, new infections have skewed younger, with more people in their 20s and 30s testing positive, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said. These clusters may be especially worrying to colleges and universities that plan to bring students back to campus in the fall when the coronavirus and the flu virus are expected to be circulating simultaneously.
  • June 25, 2020: U.S. House Democrats are making yet another push to implement government price setting on prescription medicines — this time, in the middle of a pandemic with an “all hands on deck” race underway by biopharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines, and treatments for COVID-19. The measure in question — the Affordable Care Act stabilization bill — seeks to expand ACA insurance subsidies and increase the affordability of ACA exchange plans. For the first time this year, lawmakers are insisting on paying for this expansive package by adopting foreign reference pricing — a practice which ties the cost of U.S. medicines to the average prices paid in other countries. It would heavily fine manufacturers who don’t comply with the cap. House Democrats are using Title I of H.R.3 — the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 — which passed last year, as the basis for its proposal. Doing so would empower the government to cap the prices of 250 common brand-name medications. The prices could not exceed 120 percent of the average prices paid in six other developed nations. And if manufacturers refuse or are unable to comply, they would face extraordinary penalties — up to 95 percent of their sales revenue. A report from the Congressional Budget Office found that H.R. 3 would translate to 45 fewer new drugs coming to market in the next two decades. Among those lost 45 drugs, any number may have been a medication that brought us one step closer to ending COVID-19. If drug manufacturers have less money coming in to spend on research — an extraordinarily expensive process — they’ll have to reduce the number of drug development projects. In fact, cutting drug prices by 40 to 50 percent would lead to up to 60 percent fewer research and development projects being undertaken, according to a report from the Nation Bureau of Economic Research. And it’s not just the availability of new cures that would be curtailed. This H.R. 3 type policy could also prompt shortages of existing brand-name drugs and restrict more than 200 million patients’ access to the medications they already rely on to stay healthy. That would prove particularly harmful for Americans with chronic or underlying illness, who are 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19. If lawmakers deprive them of the treatments they need to manage their conditions, the pandemic’s already devastating toll could skyrocket. Congress is right to look for ways to provide Americans with affordable access to the care they need, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. There are dozens of proposals that would do so, and that have bipartisan support.
  • June 26, 2020: The Allegheny County, Pa Health Department has released additional information on the 244 new COVID-19 cases reported in the past week, saying the cases were overwhelmingly among younger people who were traveling, visiting bars and restaurants, and out in the community. Officials said the new cases ranged in age from four months to 97 years old, with a median age of 31 years old. The Health Department said two-thirds of the new cases were among those aged 19 to 49 years old. The Health Department said the people they contacted for case investigations reported traveling all over the country, including Myrtle Beach, Houston, Nashville, and places in Florida such as Miami, Tampa, and Naples. “The department has not identified any apparent clusters in travel destinations or activities. What neither Health Department investigators nor COVID-positive residents know are exactly where or when people contracted the virus. They don’t know if they were exposed before a vacation, while on vacation, or after returning home. They don’t know if they were exposed at a bar or restaurant, or if they were exposed before or after going out,” officials from the Health Department said in a news release.
  • June 28, 2020: Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face-covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets.
  • June 28, 2020: Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases compared to last week — Connecticut and Rhode Island. A rise was reported in a staggering 36 states, including Florida, which some experts have cautioned could be the next epicenter for infections. Florida reported 9,585 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a single-day record since the start of the pandemic. The number rivals that of New York’s peak in daily cases in early April. While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state’s surge in cases in the past week was the result of a “test dump,” officials there and across the US have also warned of an increase in cases among younger groups. That’s all as the US broke another record, reporting the highest number of new cases in a single day Friday with at least 40,173 new infections. The daunting numbers could be the tip of the iceberg: A survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the total number of coronavirus infections across the US could actually be six to 24 times greater than reported. As cases spike, US travelers are “unlikely” to be allowed into the European Union as the bloc begins opening up to international travel, several EU diplomats told CNN. Officials in parts of the US are now trying to reel in the spread of the virus — which many experts have said is spiraling out of control — by making pleas to the country’s young population to keep their distance, urging the use of face masks and halting their reopening plans. The US has now hit more than 2.5 million infections and at least 125,539 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • June 30, 2020: How will we know when it’s safe for children to return to school? There can never be a cast-iron guarantee. We know that children are less likely to catch covid-19 than adults. They’re about half as likely, to be precise, according to a recent study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) using data from China, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Canada, and South Korea, published in Nature Medicine. A survey of 149,760 people with covid-19 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children 17 and under, who make up 22% of the US population, account for fewer than 2% of confirmed infections across the United States. The LSHTM study suggests that when children catch covid-19, they usually get very mild effects. Only one in five of those aged 10–19 had any clinical symptoms, compared with 69% of adults over 70. Children are extremely unlikely to die from coronavirus: during the peak nine weeks of the pandemic in England and Wales, just five children 14 and under died, out of a population of almost 11 million in that age group, according to official data analyzed by David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at Cambridge University. A preprint in the journal Public Health found that across seven countries up to May 19, there were 44 covid-19 deaths out of over 137 million children 19 and under. That’s a rate of less than 1 in 3 million. There is, understandably, a lot of pressure from parents to keep their children safe, and many are still not comfortable with sending them back to school, says Slingenbergh. But most of them recognize it’s a delicate balance. “It’s all about weighing up the risks of covid, the kids getting proper schooling, and looking after their mental health,” Minshall says.

This ends Coronavirus Timeline Part 1. To continue reading please visit Coronavirus Part 2 here.