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
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.
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face
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 16, 2003: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1) is a strain of the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Following the outbreak of SARS in Asia and secondary cases elsewhere in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release stating that the coronavirus identified by several laboratories was the official cause of SARS. In the SARS outbreak of 2003, about 9% of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV infection died. The mortality rate was much higher for those over 60 years old, with mortality rates approaching 50% for this subset of patients. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness. Colloquially known as coronavirus, it was previously referred to by its provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). As described by the National Institutes of Health, it is the successor of SARS-CoV-1.
- 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 1, 2006: National Pandemic Influenza Plans. The White House Homeland Security Council has outlined the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Cdc-pdf[358 KB, 17 pages] and National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan Cdc-pdf[4.2 MB, 233 pages] to guide the United States’ preparedness and response activities in an influenza pandemic. These plans aimed to stop, slow or otherwise limit the spread of a pandemic to the United States; limiting domestic spread, mitigating disease, suffering and death; and sustaining infrastructure and lessening the effects on the economy and society as a whole. At the same time, HHS framed its Pandemic Influenza Plan Cdc-pdf[1.0 MB, 52 pages] around a doctrine that laid out guiding principles for pandemic influenza preparedness and response.
- January 1, 2006: PREPARING FOR A PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: A PRIMER FOR GOVERNORS AND SENIOR STATE OFFICIALS. This document examines the key issues governors and their top officials may face should a pandemic occur. It is not intended to serve as a guidance document for preparing a response plan; the federal government — primarily the Department of Health and Human Services — has provided excellent guidance for such planning. Instead, this document introduces senior state officials to many of the considerations they will face in developing such plans.
- January 20, 2012: A voluntary moratorium on laboratory research specific to the highly pathogenic A(H5N1) bird flu virus was announced in a letter signed by 39 international flu researchers. This moratorium, which was initially expected to last 60 days, was not lifted until January 23, 2013, due to the controversy surrounding the topic. This moratorium prompted the development of the U.S. Government’s DURC policy, which was launched in March 2012. In October 2014, following the publication of several controversial “Gain of Function” (GoF) studies as well as several high-profile incidents in U.S. biocontainment laboratories, the U.S. Government introduced another moratorium on all U.S. funded GOF research on certain “Potential Pandemic Pathogens” (PPPs), including influenza viruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) viruses.
- 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 22, 2014: As many as 75 scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were exposed to anthrax. A few weeks later, Food and Drug Administration officials ran across 16 forgotten vials of smallpox in storage. Meanwhile, the “largest, most severe, and most complex” Ebola outbreak in history was raging across West Africa, and the first patient to be diagnosed in the US had just been announced.
- 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 17, 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. Following a series of federal laboratory mishaps that narrowly missed releasing these deadly engineered viruses, President Obama ordered a halt to all federal funding for Fauci’s dangerous experiments. However, the NIAID-funded Gain of Function research was continued outside the USA to circumvent the moratorium in a Wuhan-based laboratory. Congress may launch an investigation of NIAID’s mischief in China.
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 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 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 1, 2015: In 2014, the United States government stopped funding and called for a voluntary moratorium on Gain-of-Function research of certain viruses due to concerns regarding biosafety and biosecurity. Today, the government continues to review gain-of-function research — or research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease — while the scientific community weighs its risks vs. benefits. “Many infectious disease researchers believe that only by studying dangerous pathogens can we overcome them,” Robin A. Weiss, Ph.D., former professor of viral oncology at the University College London, told Infectious Disease News. “For the same reason, stocks of smallpox virus have not been destroyed despite the WHO vote to do so in 1996, because virologists, in general, think there is more public health benefit to be gained by further research for future control of a possible natural reoccurrence, or a bioterrorist act, than the risk of accidental release from the two official, legal repositories in the United States and Russia.”
- November 1, 2015: Concerns over the potential dangers of Gain-of-Function research intensified in 2010, when researchers studied the transmission of the highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus, which has a case-fatality rate of 56%, according to WHO. On Oct. 17, 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services stopped funding and declared a voluntary moratorium on gain-of-function research on severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and all influenza viruses. Recently, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) awarded $1.1 million to Gryphon Scientific to assess gain-of-function research to help the NSABB determine which studies should return and whether this research should resume at all.
- November 9, 2015: Following the 2002–2003 SARS coronavirus outbreak, NIH funded a collaboration by Chinese scientists, US military virologists from the bioweapons lab at Fort Detrick and National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to prevent future coronavirus outbreaks by studying the evolution of virulent strains from bats in human tissues. Those efforts included “gain of function” research which is “accelerated viral evolution” to create COVID Pandemic superbugs, enhanced bat-borne COVID mutants more lethal and more transmissible than wild COVID.
- November 12, 2015: An experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus — one related to the virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — has triggered a renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks. Virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk. Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells. “If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” he says.
- 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 11, 2017: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the Trump administration will not only be challenged by ongoing global health threats such as influenza and HIV, but also a surprise disease outbreak.“The history of the last 32 years that I have been the director of the NIAID will tell the next administration that there is no doubt they will be faced with the challenges their predecessors were faced with,” he said. “There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases,” he said in a speech titled “Pandemic Preparedness in the Next Administration” at Georgetown University Medical Center, which he delivered it just days before Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017. While observers have speculated since his election about how Trump will respond to such challenges, Fauci and other health experts said that preventing disease pandemics often starts overseas and that a proper response means collaboration between not only the U.S. and other countries but also the public and private health sectors.“We will get surprised in the next few years,” he said.
- December 19, 2017: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lifted a 3-year moratorium on laboratory research specific to the highly pathogenic A(H5N1) bird flu virus. The ending of the moratorium allows certain types of U.S. government-funded laboratory research studies involving these pathogens to resume. The types of studies that now can be conducted are governed by the HHS for guiding funding decisions about research involving enhanced potential pandemic pathogens, also known as the “HHS P3CO Framework,” which also was released on December 19, 2017.
- December 19, 2017: The federal government announced that it is lifting a three-year moratorium on funding controversial research that involves genetically altering viruses in ways that could make them more contagious, more deadly, or both — and that critics say risks triggering a catastrophic pandemic. The Gain-of-Function experiments aim to understand genetic changes that can make viruses such as bird flu, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) more transmissible from person to person. But if they escaped from the lab, perhaps through human error, the modified viruses could, in theory, spread quickly or be extremely virulent, increasing the toll of an outbreak.
- December 19, 2017: Federal officials ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal. Some scientists are eager to pursue these studies because they may show, for example, how the bird flu could mutate to more easily infect humans or could yield clues to making a better vaccine. Critics say these researchers risk creating a monster germ that could escape the lab and seed a pandemic.
- December 19, 2017: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that scientists can once again use federal money to conduct Gain-of-Function research on pathogens such as influenza viruses. The NIH announcement ends a moratorium on gain-of-function research that began in October 2014. Back then, some researchers argued that the agency’s ban — which singled out research on the viruses that cause flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) — was too broad. The 21 projects halted by the policy included studies of seasonal flu and efforts to develop vaccines. The NIH eventually allowed ten of these studies to proceed, but three projects using the MERS virus and eight dealing with flu remained ineligible for US government grants — until now.
- April 1, 2018: Use of overhead far-ultraviolet C light in public spaces could provide a powerful check on seasonal influenza epidemics, as well as influenza pandemics. Continuous low doses of far ultraviolet C (far-UVC) light can kill airborne flu viruses without harming human tissues, according to a new study at the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (New York, NY).1 The findings suggest that use of overhead far-UVC light in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, airports, airplanes, and other public spaces could provide a powerful check on seasonal influenza epidemics, as well as influenza pandemics.
- May 19, 2018: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) owns a large portfolio of intellectual property on various aspects of vaccines and vaccine technologies. The Office of the Associate Director for Science (OADS) stated: “In the course of performing our mission, many CDC researchers identify novel technologies that may be of interest to commercial partners. Some of these technologies are available as a biological or other tangible material for licensing, whereas others are protected under patent.” Patents protect the CDC from corporations or individuals who would rely upon CDC inventions, and then, attempt to patent it for themselves for profit. The patents are licensed to outside entities, such as pharmaceutical companies, by the National Institutes of Health Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), which is responsible for licensing all of the patents generated from the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC. The OTT reported in 2018 that they had earned royalties of about US$110.9 million across all of the licensed technology from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and CDC. According to the rules of the Federal Government, almost all of the royalties are plowed back into basic scientific research. As agencies of U.S. Government, NIH owns the rights to any patent to a discovery made by any NIH employee or personnel working at a NIH facility, or from a discovery that involves the use of a NIH facility or use of government equipment. In general, NIH inventors must assign their rights to inventions they develop in their official duty, to the NIH. However, each NIH inventor is recognized as an inventor on any issued patent, and upon assignment of his/her rights to any invention to the NIH, such inventor will receive a share of any royalties obtained through licensing the invention, whether it is patented or not.
- February 19, 2019: Thomas Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, stated that he doesn’t think the benefits for vaccine development hold up in most cases. “I haven’t seen any of the vaccine companies say that they need to do this [Gain of Function] work to make vaccines,” he pointed out. “I have not seen evidence that the information people are pursuing could be put into widespread use in the field.”
- February 25, 2019: Human error in high-biocontainment labs is a likely pandemic threat. Incidents causing potential exposures to pathogens occur frequently in the high-security laboratories often known by their acronyms, BSL3 (Biosafety Level 3), and BSL4. Lab incidents that lead to undetected or unreported laboratory-acquired infections can lead to the release of a disease into the community outside the lab; lab workers with such infections will leave work carrying the pathogen with them. If the agent involved were a potential pandemic pathogen, such a community release could lead to a worldwide pandemic with many fatalities.
- 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 17, 2019: The first case of the COVID-19 virus was discovered in Wuhan on November 17, 2019 by the Chinese government.
- November 17, 2019: Government records suggest the first person infected with the new disease may have been a Hubei resident aged 55, but patient zero has yet to be confirmed. Various reports suggest that the first case arose in Wuhan, China, toward the end of 2019, though some reports point to cases in early December.
- December 8, 2019: Wuhan’s first confirmed COVID-19 case. The first patient in Wuhan City, China reports symptoms of unknown coronavirus infection. The disease is suspected to have emerged in the Huanan seafood market — although doubts are later cast on this theory.
- December 30, 2019: Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, alerted physicians about the emergence of a SARS-like illness. He was later detained by police on charges of spreading rumors.
- Dec. 30, 2020: Dr. Li Wenliang dropped a bombshell in his medical school alumni group on the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat: seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and quarantined in his hospital. Dr. Li explained that, according to a test he had seen, the illness was a coronavirus. Soon after he posted the message, Li was accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police.
- December 31, 2019: China confirms existence of a new virus.
- December 31, 2019: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported 27 cases of viral pneumonia in Hubei Province. China informs the World Health Organization (WHO) about the cluster of cases of pneumonia. The cases occur between December 12 and December 29, according to Wuhan Municipal Health. During this reported period, the virus is unknown and the new respiratory disease is not well understood.
- December 31, 2019: Reports emerge that the Chinese government is investigating an “outbreak of respiratory illness in the central city of Wuhan”.
- December 31, 2020: On December 31, 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) became aware of cases in China and began developing reports for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 1.
- January 1, 2020: Chinese health authorities close the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after it is discovered that wild animals sold there may be the source of the virus and thought to be linked to the first group of cases.
- January 1, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) moves into an emergency mode for dealing with a major disease outbreak.
- January 1, 2020: Huanan Seafood Market is shut down.
- 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.
- January 9, 2020: The World Health Organization issued a statement naming the disease as a new coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
- January 10, 2020: World Health Organization issued a comprehensive package of technical guidance online with advice to all countries on how to detect, test, and manage potential cases, based on what was known about the virus at the time. This guidance was shared with WHO’s regional emergency directors to share with WHO representatives in countries. Based on experience with SARS and MERS and known modes of transmission of respiratory viruses, infection and prevention control guidance were published to protect health workers recommending droplet and contact precautions when caring for patients, and airborne precautions for aerosol-generating procedures conducted by health workers.
- January 10, 2020: A Department of Defense study suggests that those who received an annual flu vaccine may have higher odds of contracting an infection from the coronavirus family. Vaccine derived virus interference was significantly associated with two respiratory viruses-coronavirus and human metapneumovirus; however, significant protection with vaccination was associated with most influenza viruses, but also parainfluenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and non-influenza virus coinfections. Virus interference is where naturally-acquired infections may reduce the risk of other infections because they temporarily up-regulate innate immune mechanisms.
- January 11, 2020: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announces the first known death caused by the new coronavirus. A 61-year-old man, with underlying health conditions, exposed to the virus at the seafood market, died on January 9 after respiratory failure caused by severe pneumonia.
- January 11, 2020: The CDC issued a Level I travel health notice for Wuhan, China.
- January 12, 2020: China publicly shared the genetic sequence of COVID-19.
- January 13, 2020: Thailand officials confirmed the first known or recorded case of the coronavirus outside China.
- January 14, 2020: 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.”
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.
- January 16, 2020: The U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) holds a briefing on the virus, and officials say the US will start to screen passengers arriving from or connecting through Wuhan.
- January 17, 2020: Chinese health officials confirm that a second person has died in China.
- January 17, 2020: The United States responds to the outbreak by implementing screenings for symptoms at three airports. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dispatched public health experts to begin public health entry screenings of incoming airport passengers at San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) airports. The CDC would later add screening at two more airports Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD).
- January 20, 2020: China reports 139 new cases of the sickness, including a third death.
- January 20, 2020: The World Health Organization’s first situation report confirms cases in Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.
- January 20, 2020: The National Institutes of Health announces that it is working on a vaccine against the coronavirus. “The NIH is in the process of taking the first steps towards the development of a vaccine,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
- January 20–21, 2020: World Health Organization experts from its China and Western Pacific regional offices conducted a brief field visit to Wuhan.
- January 21, 2020: The U.S. CDC activated its emergency operations center to provide ongoing support to the coronavirus response.
- January 21, 2020: The first U.S. case is announced in Washington state (as well as Vietnam and Singapore). WHO says the virus risk globally is high.
- January 21, 2020: 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. The Washington state man in his 30s returned from Wuhan a week earlier, on Jan. 15. Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, called the news “concerning,” particularly in light of reports that the virus has begun to spread.
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.
- 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 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.
- February 6, 2020: First coronavirus death occurs in the U.S. Autopsies on the bodies of two people who died at home on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 showed they were positive for the virus, a California county announced April 21, 2020. Previously, the first U.S. death had been thought to occur Feb. 29 outside Seattle. The autopsy findings revealed that the virus might have been spreading in U.S. communities earlier than previously known. The two people died during a time when very limited testing was available only through the CDC, and the agency’s testing criteria restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms.
- February 7, 2020: The Chinese whistleblower, Li Wenliang, a Wuhan doctor, who was reprimanded and targeted by the security police for warning fellow doctors and trying to sound the alarm on a “SARS-like” virus in December, died of the coronavirus. Following news of Li’s death, the topics “Wuhan government owes Dr. Li Wenliang an apology,” and “We want freedom of speech,” trend on China’s Twitter-like platform, Weibo, before disappearing from the heavily censored platform.
- February 7, 2020: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that his department facilitated the transportation of nearly 17.8 tons of donated medical supplies to China, including “masks, gowns, gauze, respirators and other vital materials.” A “USA Today” analysis later finds that American companies sold more than $17.5 million worth of face masks, more than $13.6 million in surgical garments and more than $27.2 million in ventilators to China during the first two months of the year, far exceeding that of any other similar period in the past decade.
- February 8, 2020: The U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirms that a 60-year-old US national died in Wuhan on February 6, marking the first confirmed death of a foreigner.
- February 10, 2020: Nearly two decades have passed since a coronavirus known as SARS emerged in China. The coronavirus now rampaging across China could be much more damaging. China has become an indispensable part of the global business since the 2003 SARS outbreak. It’s grown into the world’s factory, churning out products. China’s economy accounted for roughly 4% of world GDP in 2003; it now makes up 16% of global output. Globalization has encouraged companies to build supply chains that cut across national borders, making economies much more interconnected. The virus is already snarling these supply chains and disrupting companies. Economists say the current level of disruption is manageable. If the virus continues to spread, however, the economic damage will increase rapidly.
- February 10, 2020: At a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., Trump said: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that’s true. But we’re doing great in our country. China, I spoke with President Xi, and they’re working very, very hard. And I think it’s going to all work out fine.”
- February 10, 2020: The Anthem of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, sets sail from Bayonne, New Jersey after a coronavirus scare had kept it docked and its passengers waiting for days.
- February 10, 2020: President Xi inspects efforts to contain the coronavirus in Beijing, the first time he has appeared on the front lines of the fight against the outbreak. On the same day, a team of international experts from WHO arrives in China to assist with containing the coronavirus outbreak.
- February 11, 2020: China reported its highest daily coronavirus death toll, with 103 additional fatalities pushing the total past 1,100. “With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” WHO’s Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
- February 11, 2020: The WHO names the coronavirus Covid-19.
- February 11–12, 2020: WHO convened a Research and Innovation Forum on COVID-19, attended by more than 400 experts and funders from around the world, which included presentations by George Gao, Director General of China CDC, and Zunyou Wu, China CDC’s chief epidemiologist.
- February 11, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a formal name for the coronavirus. The WHO proposes a new official name for the disease caused by the coronavirus COVID-19, an acronym for coronavirus disease 2019. The virus that causes it is named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).
- February 11, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the 13th U.S. coronavirus case, and about 800 Americans evacuated from Wuhan remain under quarantine.
- February 11. 2020: At a World Health Organization briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged world leaders to give priority to containing the virus: “To be honest, a virus is more powerful in creating political, economic and social upheaval than any terrorist attack. A virus can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist action, and that’s true. If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as Public Enemy Number 1, I don’t think we will learn our lessons.”
- February 12, 2020: First American dies. A 60-year-old U.S. citizen became what appears to be the first American fatality from the global virus outbreak. The American victim, who was not identified, died in China after being diagnosed with the coronavirus in Wuhan, according to the U.S. Embassy.
- February 12, 2020: The U.S. CDC was prepared to travel to China but had yet to receive permission from the Chinese government.
- February 13, 2020: China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency announces that Shanghai mayor Ying Yong will be replacing Jiang Chaoliang amid the outbreak. Wuhan Communist Party chief Ma Guoqiang has also been replaced by Wang Zhonglin, party chief of Jinan city in Shandong province, according to Xinhua.
- February 13, 2020: In an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Trump characterized the threat of the virus in the U.S. by saying: “In our country, we only have, basically, 12 cases, and most of those people are recovering and some cases fully recovered. So it’s less.”
- February 14, 2020: The U.S. CDC began working with five labs to conduct “community-based influenza surveillance” to study and detect the spread of coronavirus.
- February 14, 2020: First coronavirus death in Europe. The first European COVID-19 death is announced, in France. A Chinese tourist who tested positive for the virus dies in France, becoming the first person to die in the outbreak in Europe.
- February 14, 2020: Egypt announces its first case of coronavirus, marking the first case in Africa.
- February 15, 2020: The official Communist Party journal Qiushi publishes the transcript of a speech made on February 3 by Xi in which he “issued requirements for the prevention and control of the new coronavirus” on January 7, revealing Xi knew about and was directing the response to the virus on almost two weeks before he commented on it publicly.
- February 16, 2020: Seventeen years after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak and seven years since the first Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) case, there is still no coronavirus vaccine despite dozens of attempts to develop them. Research institutes and companies around the world race to find potential vaccines for the new coronavirus strain.
- February 16–24, 2020: The World Health Organization-China Joint mission, which included experts from Canada, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the US (CDC, NIH) spent time in Beijing and traveled to Wuhan and two other cities. They spoke with health officials, scientists, and health workers in health facilities (maintaining physical distancing).
- February 18, 2020: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would engage with Sanofi Pasteur in an effort to quickly develop a coronavirus vaccine and to develop treatment for coronavirus infections.
- February 18, 2020: President Xi says in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that China’s measures to prevent and control the epidemic “are achieving visible progress,” according to state news Xinhua.
- February 18, 2020: The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, which emerged in eastern China, was the first deadly epidemic caused by a coronavirus. “It was a tremendous concern,” said Alan Rowan, a public health professor at Florida State University involved in Florida’s response to the SARS outbreak. “It was a novel virus, and it was frightening.” SARS was a pneumonia-like illness that killed about 1 in every 10 people struck, far higher than the estimated 1-in-50 mortality rate for COVID-19 infections. “There was enormous panic,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law. During SARS, remembered as the first pandemic of the 21st century, public health officials watched in horror as an interconnected, global society facilitated the spread of disease like never before. Much like the strain of coronavirus currently spreading across the world, the SARS virus prompted people to hoard face masks, cancel trips to Asia and institute massive quarantines amid fears that the disease would become entrenched. SARS and COVID-19 are like cousins, sharing 70% of their genetic material. Both are coronaviruses, a family of viruses that before 2003 had been known to cause only the common cold in humans. However, eight months after SARS began circulating, it was contained. The virus died out. The SARS outbreak, which reached 29 countries, was ultimately controlled using traditional public health measures, such as testing, isolating patients, and screening people at airports and other places where they might spread the virus, Gostin said. The strategy was simple: If sick people can be stopped from infecting healthy people, the disease will eventually die off. Even if COVID-19 doesn’t die out, it could wane so much that cases become extremely rare, or emerge only in the winter. Viruses tend to have seasonality, appearing for only a few months a year, so some hope warmer weather will make the virus recede.
- February 19, 2020: First coronavirus cases appear in Iran. Iran announces two COVID-19 cases in the country.
- February 20, 2020: WHO reports nearly 77,000 cases worldwide in 27 countries.
- February 21, 2020: South Korean coronavirus cases soar. The Shincheonji Church of Jesus in South Korea is linked to a surge of infections in the country. The government closes kindergartens, nursing homes, and community centers.
- February 21, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changes criteria for counting confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States and begins tracking two separate and distinct groups: those repatriated by the US Department of State and those identified by the US public health network.
- February 21, 2020: Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that U.S. health officials are preparing for the coronavirus to become a pandemic. “We’re not seeing community spread here in the United States, yet, but it’s very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen,” she said.
- February 23, 2020: World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a vaccine could be available in 18 months. Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson for the WHO, said, “It usually takes several years to develop a vaccine. We were able to shorten that in the development of the vaccine for Ebola by harnessing global efforts. We are already working to do the same for Covid-19.” He said the WHO was expecting clinical trials on humans to start in three to four months.
- February 23, 2020: Italy locks down. Schools, businesses, and restaurants were closed in a dozen northern Italian towns following reports of two deaths tied to an outbreak of the coronavirus in the region. Italy starts lockdown Italy sees a major surge in cases of the coronavirus and many towns are locked down. It is the first major outbreak in Europe.
- February 23, 2020: The coronavirus virus begins to spread rapidly through Europe and Iran.
- February 24, 2020: Stock market plummets as Dow Jones Industrials falls more than 1,000 points.
- February 24, 2020: The Trump Administration sent a letter to Congress requesting at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
- February 24, 2020: President Trump asks for a $1.25bn in emergency aid after the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbles 1,000 points on coronavirus fears. It grows to $8.3 billion in Congress.
- February 24, 2020: In a tweet, Trump wrote, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all the relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
- February 25, 2020: The NIH announces that a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the antiviral drug Remdesivir in adults diagnosed with coronavirus has started at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The first participant is an American who was evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.
- February 25, 2020: Moderna Therapeutics has shipped the first batches of its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was created just 42 days after the genetic sequence of the COVID_19 virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was released by Chinese researchers in mid-January. The first vials were sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, which will ready the vaccine for human testing as early as April.
- February 25, 2020: To contain the largest outbreak in Europe, Italy’s Lombardy region press office issues a list of towns and villages that are in complete lockdown. Around 100,000 people are affected by travel restrictions.
- February 26, 2020: President Trump discussed coronavirus containment efforts with Indian PM Modi and updated the press on his administration’s containment efforts in the U.S. during his state visit to India.
- February 26, 2020: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said: “The priorities are: First, expanding our surveillance network. Second, support for state and local governments’ work. Third and fourth, development of therapeutics and vaccines. And fifth, manufacturing and purchase of personal protective equipment like gowns and masks.”
- February 26, 2020: The first case emerges in California with no clear source, suggesting community spread of the virus.
- February 26, 2020: In a news conference, Trump says the United States is “really prepared.” He puts Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the White House task force.
- February 26, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed an infection in California that would represent the first U.S. person to contract the virus despite not visiting a foreign country recently or coming in contact with an infected patient. This brings the number of coronavirus cases detected in the U.S. to 15, with 12 of them related to travel and the other two to direct contact with a patient.
- February 26, 2020: President Trump announced that Vice President Mike Pence would lead the administration’s coronavirus response. “We’re very, very ready for this,” Trump said at a press conference. “The risk to the American people remains very low.”
- February 26, 2020: 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 patient, who didn’t have any relevant travel history nor exposure to another known patient, is the first possible US case of “community spread.”
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.
- February 26, 2020: President Trump says at a news conference that the US is “really prepared”. Vice President Mike Pence is named head of the White House task force and Dr. Deborah Birx is named response coordinator.
- February 26, 2020: Several European countries have announced their first coronavirus cases, all linked to the growing outbreak in Italy. Austria, Croatia, Greece, and Switzerland said the cases involved people who had been to Italy, as did Algeria in Africa. The first positive virus test has been recorded in Latin America — a Brazilian resident just returned from Italy. Italy has in recent days become Europe’s worst-affected country. Authorities have confirmed more than 300 cases and 12 deaths there, the most recent a 70-year-old resident of Lombardy who died after being taken to intensive care in Parma. The country has also seen four children infected.
- February 28, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) raises the global risk of the coronavirus from “high” to “very high.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) raises the global risk of the coronavirus from “high” to “very high.”
- February 28, 2020: First case in sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa records its first infection, in Nigeria. The patient is an Italian citizen who had been in Milan.
- February. 28, 2020: Cases rise across Europe, including Italy, Germany, France, England, Switzerland and Belarus.
- February. 28, 2020: Dr. Messonnier told reporters that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken steps to address problems with flawed test kits mailed to state and local labs. The agency has also expanded the criteria for coronavirus testing.
- February 29, 2020: The U.S. FDA eases guidelines to speed the broader use of testing.
- February 29, 2020: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed certified labs to develop and begin testing coronavirus testing kits while reviewing pending applications.
- February 29, 2020: The Trump administration: Announced a level 4 travel advisory to areas of Italy and South Korea. Barred all travel to Iran. Barred the entry of foreign citizens who visited Iran in the last 14 days.
- February 29, 2020: New York Times science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. noted that the Trump administration took “aggressive measures like barring entry to non-Americans who were recently in China and advising Americans not to go to China or South Korea,” and that this strategy worked, despite the fact that the World Health Organization officially opposes travel and trade restrictions, and “reiterated that even as it declared the epidemic a global emergency on Jan. 30.”
- February 29, 2020: Republican Senator Tom Cotton said yesterday that “The single most consequential and valuable thing done to stop this virus from already spreading throughout the United States was when President Trump decided to shut down travel to China last month.” He also acknowledged that “the so-called experts who opposed the decision at the time” eventually admitted that it “bought valuable time to prevent the spread of this virus in the United States.” He’s absolutely right. The World Health Organization admits the strategy helped saved lives.
- February 29, 2020: To increase testing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would be opening up its emergency authorization process to allow new testing technologies at hospitals and health care facilities nationwide. The FDA will permit certain US labs to test for the coronavirus using diagnostics developed and validated by the laboratories without prior review.
- February 29, 2020: The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams echoed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance encouraging Americans not to buy facemasks needed by medical professionals. “They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk. The best way to protect yourself and your community are with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness,” he said on Twitter.
“Get your #FluShot- fewer flu patients = more resources for#COVID19”
- February 29, 2020: The first coronavirus death is recorded in the United States. A man in Washington State died after contracting the coronavirus — what was initially thought to be the first death from the new disease in the U.S. Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in Washington hours later, saying that the outbreak “could likely be a worldwide pandemic.”
The first coronavirus death is recorded in the United States.
- 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 amny.com.
Cuomo emphasized that while coronavirus is concerning, it’s not as grave a threat as other illnesses such as ebola or influenza.
- March 3, 2020: U.S. surpasses 100 coronavirus cases.
- March 3, 2020: The Federal Reserve slashes interest rates by half a percentage point in an attempt to give the US economy a jolt in the face of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. It is the first unscheduled, emergency rate cut since 2008, and it also marks the biggest one-time cut since then.
- March 3, 2020: The U.S. CDC lifted federal restrictions on coronavirus testing to allow any American to be tested for coronavirus, “subject to doctor’s orders.”
- March 3, 2020: Officials announce that Iran will temporarily release 54,000 people from prisons and deploy hundreds of thousands of health workers as officials announced a slew of measures to contain the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak outside China. It is also announced that 23 members of Iran’s parliament tested positive for the virus.
- March 3, 2020: The White House announced President Trump donated his fourth-quarter salary to fight the coronavirus.
- March 4, 2020: China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat, has been censoring keywords about the coronavirus outbreak from as early as 1 January. Toronto-based research group Citizen Lab found that WeChat, owned by Chinese firm Tencent, blocked combinations of keywords and criticism of President Xi Jinping. The report suggests China began censoring discussions weeks before Chinese officials began acknowledging the severity of the outbreak. It was on December 31 that China first alerted the World Health Organization to an outbreak of a new coronavirus in the city of Wuhan. But Chinese authorities initially withheld information by under-reporting the number of people infected, downplaying the risks, and failing to provide timely information that could have saved lives. It was not until January 20 that Chinese president Xi Jinping publicly addressed the issue of the virus, saying it had to be “resolutely contained”. China continues to censor content that is perceived to be threatening to the ruling Communist Party.
- March 4, 2020: The U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, finally pass a $8.3 billion emergency bill, to aid the immediate health response to the coronavirus.
- March 4, 2020: President Trump is facing increasing criticism for his administration’s response to the virus. The president criticizes the previous administration in an interview with TV network Fox News, saying the Obama administration “didn’t do anything about” swine flu.
- March 4, 2020: When the coronavirus first appeared in January, countries including the United States, Australia and Russia closed their borders to travelers from China. China criticized the decision at the time. “Some countries, the U.S. in particular, have inappropriately overreacted,” a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said of the travel restrictions in early February. But now the tables have turned. As China sees its coronavirus caseload decline, officials are taking steps to reduce the risk of travelers to China reintroducing the virus by enacting its coronavirus travel restrictions.
- March 4, 2020: The CDC formally removes earlier restrictions that limited coronavirus testing of the general public to people in the hospital, unless they had close contact with confirmed coronavirus cases. According to the CDC, clinicians should now “use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.”
- March 4, 2020: The Trump Administration announced the purchase of $500 million N95 respirators over the next 18 months to respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
- March 4, 2020: Secretary Azar announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was transferring $35 million to the CDC to help state and local communities that have been impacted most by the coronavirus.
- March 5, 2020: A recent study suggests there may be two strains of the virus infecting people around the globe. Researchers from Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai under the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a preliminary study that analyzed 103 publicly available genomes from patients infected with the novel coronavirus. The study found in 70 percent of the cases, the patient was infected with a more aggressive strain of the virus, detected late last year in Wuhan, China. The remaining 30 percent of cases were linked to a less aggressive strain of the virus, the study said. Researchers said the virus likely went through “mutations and natural selection besides recombination,” which caused it to develop the different strains.
- March 5, 2020: In a World Health Organization briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China and the U.S. for taking “the right approach.” He said: “After we visited Beijing and seeing China’s approach, and President Xi leading that, and also in the U.S., President Trump himself, and also for regular coordination, designating the vice president. These are the approaches we’re saying are the right ones, and these are the approaches we’re saying are going to mobilize the whole government.”
- March 5, 2020: In a Fox News town hall, Trump said, “It’s going to all workout. Everybody has to be calm. It’s all going to work out.”
- March 6, 2020: While touring the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, President Trump told reporters: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.”
- March 6, 2020: President Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
- March 8, 2020: N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo joined FNC’s “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo 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. And we’re trying to protect the vulnerable populations for whom this Coronavirus could really be dangerous, senior citizens, immune-compromised,” he said. Bartiromo asked whether mass transit systems should be shut down as a precaution, citing the outbreak in Westchester county linked to a passenger on the MetroNorth rail system. “At this time, there’s no reason to close down mass transit, Maria. We haven’t had — to the extent, we have big numbers in New York, it’s actually in Westchester, which is a suburban community, as you know, where you have a cluster of cases,” Cuomo replied. “And once you get that cluster, they tend to exponentially increase. And that’s what we’re dealing with in Westchester. But, in New York City, we have a relatively minor number so far.”
“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.”
- March 8, 2020: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signs a decree placing travel restrictions on the entire Lombardy region and 14 other provinces, restricting the movements of more than 10 million people in the northern part of the country.
- March 9, 2020: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces that the whole country of Italy is on lockdown.
- March 9, 2020: President Trump called on Congress to pass a payroll tax cut over coronavirus.
- March 9, 2020: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products. The FDA and FTC jointly issued letters to Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC, and The Jim Bakker Show. The products cited in these letters are teas, essential oils, tinctures, and colloidal silver. These products are unapproved drugs that pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law. “The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to public health. We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “We understand consumers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and urge them to talk to their health care providers, as well as follow advice from other federal agencies about how to prevent the spread of this illness. We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable. “There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”
- March 9, 2020: The Republic of the Philippines Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, stated that there is no evidence to show that people positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but do not manifest symptoms can infect others. “To date, there has been no documented asymptomatic transmission. This does not exclude the possibility that it may occur. Asymptomatic cases have been reported as part of contact tracing efforts in some countries,” the WHO said in an April 2 report.
- March 10, 2020: In a meeting with Republican senators at the U.S. Capitol, Trump said, “This was unexpected. … And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
- March 10, 2020: President Trump and VP Pence met with top health insurance companies and secured a commitment to waive co-pays for coronavirus testing.
- March 10, 2020: At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a trial for Remdesivir, an antiviral drug originally developed for Ebola, but which showed encouraging results in animals in fighting SARS and MERS, two other illnesses caused by coronaviruses has begun. The study will eventually include 400 patients; initial results won’t be analyzed until the first 100 have completed treatment.
- March 10, 2020: If coronavirus continues to spread and the U.S. economy suffers deep and prolonged economic disruption that continues well beyond April, this coronavirus could cause a full-fledged recession.
- March 11, 2020: A team of scientists in Milan believes Italy’s coronavirus epidemic might have come to the country via Germany and not directly from China as many experts initially assumed. Italian scientists have been hunting for the so-called “patient zero” ever since the contagion first came to light in the prosperous northern region of Lombardy on Feb. 21. After extensive analysis, the Milan team has not yet identified the individual at the root of the worst outbreak in Europe, but they have matched the Italian genetic sequencing of the virus here to a case that emerged in Germany in January. “The sequence closest to the base of the branch, which is the one that probably precedes the others, came from a person infected in Munich in all likelihood between Jan. 19–22,” said Massimo Galli, head of the university research group and the infectious-diseases department at Milan’s Sacco hospital. Galli added that the German patient had caught the virus after contacting someone who came from Shanghai.
- March 11, 2020: President Trump: Announced travel restrictions on foreigners who had visited Europe in the last 14 days. Directed the Small Business Administration to issue low-interest loans to affected small businesses and called on Congress to increase this fund by $50 billion. Directed the Treasury Department to defer tax payments for affected individuals & businesses, & provide $200 billion in “additional liquidity.” Met with American bankers at the White House to discuss coronavirus.
- March 11, 2020: Trump announces that he is restricting travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office on the coronavirus outbreak and outlined strict travel restrictions on passengers arriving in the United States from hard-hit portions of Europe, which is seeing a marked increase in cases — specifically in Italy and Spain. The ban only includes the 26 Schengen countries. The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished all passports and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, Luxembourg. The UK and Ireland were not included. Three days later, he added the United Kingdom and Ireland to the ban. The ban applies only to foreign nationals and not American citizens and permanent residents who’d be screened before entering the country.
- March 11, 2020: Health insurance providers promised to waive all coronavirus testing fees.
- March 11, 2020: China continues the facade of hiding the severity of the coronavirus attack till mid-March.
- March 11, 2020: Trump said: “The vast majority of Americans, the risk is very, very low.”
- March 11, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. Deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction, the WHO belatedly declared that “the spread of COVID-19 had become a pandemic, which the organization has defined as “the worldwide spread of a new disease.” By that time the number of cases globally had grown thirteen-fold. As per the WHO website, more than 118,000 cases had been reported in 114 countries, and 4,291 people had lost their lives when the global pandemic was declared. That is when the rest of the world started preparing for a suitable response to the pandemic, nearly two months after China.
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.
- March 12, 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “the testing logjam constitutes a ‘failing’ of the nation’s health care system. The idea of anybody getting (a coronavirus test) easily, the way people in other countries are doing it — we’re not set up for that,” Fauci told Congress. “That is failing.”
- March 13, 2020: Former Vice President Joe Biden — the presumptive Democratic nominee — may not openly support full-on socialized medicine, but his choice of advisors on a new Public Health Advisory Committee is very suspicious. Biden announced the committee as part of his plan to fight the coronavirus, but one of his advisors, Ezekiel Emanuel, published an op-ed in The Atlantic saying he wants to die at age 75 because life simply isn’t worth living after that point. The op-ed isn’t just personal, either — it attempts to convince the reader that death may be preferable to living in advanced age. In fact, Emanuel’s op-ed goes on to advise the elderly to refuse life-saving medical care — the exact kind of care needed to combat the coronavirus. Given the fact that the coronavirus poses the greatest risk for the elderly, Biden’s choice of Emanuel is troubling — if not downright terrifying. “Here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss,” Emanuel writes. “It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.” As for Biden himself, he is 77, two years older than the age when Ezekiel Emanuel said life becomes not worth living. In fact, his op-ed arguably made a case against Biden’s presidential bid.
- March 13, 2020: Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisor, Ezekiel Emanuel, encouraged people over 75 to avoid flu shots. Ezekiel Emanuel served as a top health care advisor to President Obama and was a central figure in the push for Obamacare. It is quite likely his end goal is some form of socialized medicine, and socialized medicine usually involves some form of health rationing.
- March 13, 2020: Liberals and the media often call people racist for using the term “Wuhan virus.” However, naming a new disease after a population or the site of its first major outbreak is common. fact, pundits used the term widely to identify the origins of the epidemic. Presently there are 17 other diseases named after populations or places: West Nile Virus — Named after the West Nile District of Uganda discovered in 1937. Guinea Worm — Named by European explorers for the Guinea coast of West Africa in the 1600s. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever — Named after the mountain range spreading across western North America first recognized in 1896 in Idaho. Lyme Disease — Named after a large outbreak of the disease occurred in Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970s. Ross River Fever — Named after a mosquito found to cause the disease in the Ross River of Queensland, Australia by the 1960s. The first major outbreak occurred in 1928. Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever — Named after its 1940s discovery in Omsk, Russia. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever — Named in 1976 for the Ebola River in Zaire located in central Africa. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) — Also known as “camel flu,” MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and all cases are linked to those who traveled to the Middle Eastern peninsula. Valley Fever — Valley Fever earned its nickname from a 1930s outbreak San Joaquin Valley of California, though its first case came from Argentina. Marburg Virus Disease — Named after Marburg, Germany in 1967. Norovirus — Named after Norwalk, Ohio after an outbreak in 1968. Zika Fever — First discovered in 1947 and named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. Japanese Encephalitis — Named after its first case in Japan in 1871. German Measles — Named after the German doctors who first described it in the 18th century. The disease is also sometimes referred to as “Rubella.” Spanish Flu — While the true origins of the Spanish Flu remain unknown, the disease earned its name after Spain began to report deaths from the flu in its newspapers. Lassa Fever — Named after the being found in Lassa, Nigeria in 1969. Legionnaire’s Disease — Named in 1976 following an outbreak of people contracting the lung infection after attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
- March 13, 2020: President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency. Trump said the move would free up nearly $50 billion in additional disaster funding and would allow HHS to waive regulations and laws to deliver coronavirus testing quicker. These monies clear the way for fast-track waivers for hospitals and doctors as they respond to the virus.
- March 13, 2020: President Trump announced: Public-private partnerships to open up drive-through testing collection sites. A pause on interest payments on federal student loans. An order to the Department of Energy to purchase oil for the strategic petroleum reserve.
- March 13, 2020: “We’re announcing a new partnership with [the] private sector to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus,” President Trump said. “We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very safely, quickly, and conveniently, but we don’t want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it. And we don’t want everyone running out and taking it, only if you have certain systems.” “I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website, it’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” Trump said. “Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now.” “Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this,” the president explained. This public-private partnership is extremely important at a time when Democrats are advocating for socialized medicine and an expansion of the federal government into health care. Rather than pushing a government solution to the coronavirus, President Trump is partnering with the private sector to come up with innovative solutions. He has adopted a pro-free-market all-hands-on-deck approach to the problem at a time when Democrats are going all-in on one-size-fits-all government approaches.
- March 13, 2020: The Food & Drug Administration: Granted Roche AG an emergency approval for automated coronavirus testing kits. Issued an emergency approval to Thermo Fisher for a coronavirus test within 24 hours of receiving the request.
- March 13, 2020: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced funding for the development of two new rapid diagnostic tests, which would be able to detect coronavirus in approximately 1 hour.
- March 13, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) launches the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to receive donations from private individuals, corporations, and institutions. The World Economic Forum is also working with its members to assist in the crisis.
- March 13, 2020: The coronavirus has put many businesses on notice that they need to diversify their supply chains. Manufacturers and suppliers find themselves hostage to events inside China and that, without sources outside of China, they are vulnerable.
- March 14, 2020: John Bolton described the changes made to the team as streamlining. He tweeted: “Claims that streamlining NSC structures impaired our nation’s biodefense are false. Global health remained a top NSC priority, and its expert team was critical to effectively handling the 2018–19 Africa Ebola crisis. The angry Left just can’t stop attacking, even in a crisis.”
- March 14, 2020: People who recover after being infected with the novel coronavirus can still be left with substantially weakened lung capacity. When the COVID-19 inflammation does not subside, then it becomes essentially scarring in the lungs, creating long-term damage. Lung fibrosis cannot be cured because the scarred changes in the lung tissue do not regress. Over time, the scar tissue can destroy the normal lung and make it hard for oxygen to get into the blood. Low oxygen levels can cause shortness of breath, particularly during walking and physical exertion.
- March 14, 2020: Many studies over the years have shown that flu vaccines are safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone over 6 months of age (with some exceptions) should have a flu vaccine each year. The CDC says that it is the best way to avoid getting the flu and spreading it to other people. There are seven ingredients in flu vaccines: weakened live or deactivated influenza viruses, formaldehyde which inactivates viral and bacterial toxins, aluminum salts which are adjuvants that help develop a stronger immune response, thimerosal which is a preservative that keeps the vaccine free from contamination by bacteria and fungi, chicken egg proteins help viruses to grow before their inclusion into the vaccine, gelatin which is a stabilizer that keeps the vaccine effective from the point of production to the moment of use, and antibiotics are present to keep bacteria from growing during the production and storage of the vaccine.
- March 14, 2020: The Coronavirus Relief Bill passed the House of Representatives.
- March 14, 2020: The Trump Administration announced the European travel ban will extend to the UK and Ireland.
- March 14, 2020: The House passes a worker and business relief bill with paid leave guarantees for certain workers, expanded food assistance and unemployment insurance benefits, and employer tax credits. Trump signs it four days later.
- March 15, 2020: President Trump held a phone call with over two dozen grocery store executives to discuss the on-going demand for food and other supplies.
- March 15, 2020: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it is projected to have 1.9 million COVID-19 tests available in 2,000 labs this week.
- March 15, 2020: Google announced a partnership with the Trump Administration to develop a website dedicated to coronavirus education, prevention, & local resources.
- March 15, 2020: All 50 states were contacted through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate “federally-supported, state-led efforts” to end coronavirus.
- March 16, 2020: “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded. And we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected,” Tedros said at a briefing in Geneva. He added, “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case.”
- March 16, 2020: President Trump: Held a teleconference with governors to discuss coronavirus preparedness and response. Participated in a call with G7 leaders who committed to increasing coordination in response to the coronavirus and restoring global economic confidence. Announced that the first potential vaccine for coronavirus has entered a phase one trial in a record amount of time. Announced “15 days to slow the spread” coronavirus guidance.
- March 16, 2020: President Trump issued guidelines that called for Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days and to limit discretionary travel, among other guidelines. Trump said the country might be dealing with some restrictions through July or August because of the virus. He acknowledged the economy might be heading into a recession.
- March 16, 2020: At a press briefing, President Trump issued orders to control the spread of the virus in the U.S.: “My administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home when possible. Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Avoid discretionary travel. And avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants, and public food courts. If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus. And we’re going to have a big celebration altogether. With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly.”
- March 16, 2020: The FDA announced it was empowering states to authorize tests developed and used by labs in their states.
- March 16, 2020: Asst. U.S. Secretary for Health confirmed the availability of 1 million coronavirus tests and projected 2 million tests available the next week and 5 million the following.
- March 17, 2020: President Trump announced: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will expand telehealth benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. Relevant Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act penalties will not be enforced. The Army Corps of Engineers is on ”standby” to assist federal & state governments.
- March 17, 2020: President Trump spoke to fast food executives from Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King to discuss drive-thru services recommended by CDC.
- March 17, 2020: President Trump met with tourism industry representatives along with industrial supply, retail, and wholesale representatives.
- March 17, 2020: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with lawmakers to discuss stimulus measures to relieve the economic burden of coronavirus on certain industries, businesses, and American workers.
- March 17, 2020: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a partnership between USDA, Baylor University, McLane Global, and Pepsi Co. to provide one million meals per weak to rural children in response to widespread school closures.
- March 17, 2020: The U.S. Treasury Department: Contributed $10 billion through the economic stabilization fund to the Federal Reserve’s commercial paper funding facility. Deferred $300 billion in tax payments for 90 days without penalty, up to $1 million for individuals & $10 million for business.
- March 17, 2020: The U.S. Department of Defense announced it will make available to HHS up to five million respirator masks and 2,000 ventilators.
- March 17, 2020: During the Democratic debate on Sunday, Democratic frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of refusing coronavirus test kits from the World Health Organization (WHO). “No, look, the World Health Organization offered — offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them,” Biden said. “We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own. I think he said something like we have the best scientists in America, or something to that effect.” This claim appears to have come from a Facebook meme based loosely on a Politico story. On March 6, Politico reported that virologists in Berlin produced the first diagnostic test for the disease, and by the end of February, the WHO had shipped tests to nearly 60 countries. “The United States was not among them,” the report noted. “Why the United States declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily as a bridge until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could produce its own test, remains a perplexing question…” PolitiFact helped dispel Biden’s misinformation, rating his claim “false.” The U.S. did not “reject” the WHO test because the WHO never offered it to the CDC in the first place. “The countries WHO helped are ones that lack the virology lab horsepower that exists across the United States,” PolitiFact reported. The WHO’s American arm said it focused its efforts on “countries with the weakest health systems.” “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told PolitiFact. “This is consistent with experience since the United States does not ordinarily rely on WHO for reagents or diagnostic tests because of sufficient domestic capacity.”
- March 17, 2020: President Trump said in a news conference that “I’ve always known this is a real, this is a pandemic. I’ve felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
- March 17, 2020: President Trump invokes the Defense Production Act. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, a wartime authority that allows him to direct industry to produce critical equipment.
- March 17, 2020: During a news conference, President Trump asks “everyone to work at home, if possible, postpone unnecessary travel, and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people”.
- March 17, 2020: A report shows the coronavirus is stable on surfaces. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that viable virus could be detected up to three hours later in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
- March 17, 2020: What makes the new coronavirus so dangerous to humans is simply that it’s “novel,” meaning it’s new to humans, and thus we do not have any way to fight it. This is the first time it’s ever circulated in humans. The virus isn’t more powerful than other viruses. But when it enters the human body, we have no pre-existing defenses since our bodies don’t immediately recognize it as a dangerous intruder. Since this is an entirely new kind of coronavirus that humans have never seen, there is no cure — no antivirals and no vaccines!
- March 18, 2020: PA Department of Health (DOH) announced the first death from COVID-19 in the state.
Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) announced the first death from COVID-19 in the state.
- March 18, 2020: Dr. Deborah Birx, said she found it “exciting … to see this administration harness the full capacity of the private sector” in ramping up testing,
- March 18, 2020: Trump signs into law a coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for Covid-19 and paid emergency leave.
- March 18, 2020: WHO and partners launch the Solidarity Trial, an international clinical trial that aims to generate robust data from around the world to find the most effective treatments for COVID-19.
- March 18, 2020: A U.S. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows that all ages are at risk. A CDC report found that among the roughly 12% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. known to need hospitalizations, about 1 in 5 were among people ages 20 to 44.
- March 18–19, 2020: China reported no new domestic cases on the mainland — only cases in people returning from abroad. For the first time since the outbreak began, all new cases come from outside China. The country’s 3,245 deaths comprise one-third of the virus’s global toll, but the numbers hold and it is a sign the country has turned a corner.
- March 18, 2020: President Trump announced: Temporary closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic. Plans to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to increase the number of necessary supplies needed to combat coronavirus. FEMA has been activated in every region at its highest level of response. The U.S. Navy will deploy USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy hospital ships. All foreclosures and evictions will be suspended for a period of time.
- March 18, 2020: U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed: 1 million masks are now immediately available. The Army Corps of Engineers is in NY consulting on how to best assist state officials.
- March 18, 2020: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) temporarily suspended a regulation that prevents doctors from practicing across state lines.
- March 18, 2020: President Trump spoke to: Doctors, physicians, and nurses on the front lines containing the spread of coronavirus. 130 CEOs of the Business Roundtable to discuss on-going public-private partnerships in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- March 19, 2020: Governor Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close across the commonwealth to help stop the spread of the virus. The administration provided guidance, refined parameters, and designed an exemption process that could allow some businesses to remain open under strict guidance from the state. The next day the governor received notification of approval of his request for a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to provide much-needed aid to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 mitigation procedures.
- March 19, 2020: At a news conference, officials from China’s National Health Commission report no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began.
- March 19, 2020: While the world battles the deadly pandemic of coronavirus that started from China’s Wuhan, a media campaign fanned by the Chinese government seems to be keen on peddling victimhood and shift the focus to vague claims of ‘racism’ and ‘bias’ instead, with active support from the so-called ‘liberals’ in the international media and political sphere.
- March 19, 2020: China brought in its travel restrictions and lockdown very late. Chinese officials even allegedly destroyed test samples of patients, threatened whistleblowers, and even actively covered up concerns and reports of a potential epidemic spreading fast. Now it has even emerged that genomics samples being tested were destroyed by the order of Wuhan authorities. On January 3, China’s National Health Commissioner had reportedly ordered all the labs not to publish any information and took away all the test samples of the virus. A report by WION has summarised the developments.
- March 19, 2020: Democrats were so opposed to Trump’s travel bans with China and Iran that they literally attempted an act of Congress to prevent him from carrying them out. On March 5, 2020, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) introduced the “No Ban Act”, which would have prevented Trump from implementing his travel ban. It was co-sponsored by 219 House Democrats. Senate Democrats also tried to prevent Trump from implementing his travel bans, introducing legislation that would block funds from being used to enforce them.
- March 19, 2020: Congressional Democrats may not understand that travel bans will help slow the spread of the coronavirus, but the American public does. A recent poll found 80 percent of Americans agree with Trump’s travel bans. And they’re not alone. Worldwide, countries are implementing travel bans of different scales to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Many have restricted travel from China or for recent visitors to China, and many have restricted travel with other countries as well. This isn’t because of xenophobia or racism, it’s about protecting their populations from the coronavirus spread.
- March 19, 2020: World Health Organization experts conceded that Trump’s travel ban with China saved lives.
- March 19, 2020: The U.S. surpasses 10,000 coronavirus cases.
- March 19, 2020: The U.S. Senate unveils a $1 trillion-plus economic stimulus package. California orders lockdown for 40 million residents.
- March 19, 2020: A study by the University of Southampton, England, states that had the Chinese authorities started their taking active measures in preventing the spread of the disease at least 1 week, 2 weeks or 3 weeks earlier, they could have prevented the coronavirus spread globally by 66%, 86% and 95% respectively.
- March 19, 2020: Peter T. Coleman is a professor of psychology at Columbia University who studies intractable conflict said “The extraordinary shock(s) to our system that the coronavirus pandemic is bringing has the potential to break America out of the 50-plus year pattern of escalating political and cultural polarization we have been trapped in, and help us to change course toward greater national solidarity and functionality. It might sound idealistic, but there are two reasons to think it can happen. The first is the “common enemy” scenario, in which people begin to look past their differences when faced with a shared external threat. COVID-19 is presenting us with a formidable enemy that will not distinguish between reds and blues and might provide us with fusion-like energy and a singularity of purpose to help us reset and regroup. During the Blitz, the 56-day Nazi bombing campaign against Britain, Winston Churchill’s cabinet was amazed and heartened to witness the ascendance of human goodness — altruism, compassion, and generosity of spirit and action. The second reason is the “political shock wave” scenario. Studies have shown that strong, enduring relational patterns often become more susceptible to change after some type of major shock destabilizes them. This doesn’t necessarily happen right away, but a study of 850 enduring inter-state conflicts that occurred between 1816 to 1992 found that more than 75 percent of them ended within 10 years of a major destabilizing shock. Societal shocks can break different ways, making things better or worse. But given our current levels of tension, this scenario suggests that now is the time to begin to promote more constructive patterns in our cultural and political discourse. The time for change is ripening.”
- March 20, 2020: Novartis has pledged a global donation of up to 130 million hydroxychloroquine tablets, pending regulatory approvals for COVID-19. Mylan is ramping up production at its West Virginia Facility with enough supplies to make 50 million tablets. Teva is donating 16 million tablets to hospitals around the U.S. On Friday afternoon, Amneal pledged to make 20 million tablets by mid-April. The pledges follow Bayer’s Thursday donation of 3 million tablets. Together, the commitments represent nearly 220 million chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine tablets for the global COVID-19 response. Early studies of the medicine in COVID-19 patients have caught the attention of healthcare experts and market watchers. In France, a professor conducted a small study of the malaria drug in 24 patients with novel coronavirus infections. Of those who received the medicine, only 25% tested positive for the virus after six days, according to en24. Meanwhile, of those who didn’t receive it, 90% tested positive after that timeframe. The French government now plans to run larger studies. In a study published last month in Nature, authors wrote that “chloroquine is a cheap and a safe drug that has been used for more than 70 years and, therefore, it is potentially clinically applicable against the 2019-nCoV.”
- March 20, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) is now haunted by a tweet it sent earlier this year when it cited Chinese health officials who claimed there had been no human transmissions of the novel coronavirus within the country yet. The Jan. 14 tweet came less than two months before WHO declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. “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,” the organization had said. It also relied on information from Chinese health authorities who have been accused of obscuring facts and figures during the outbreak. The Chinese government reportedly knew the disease was spreading before the tweet was sent, according to the South China Morning Post.
The Chinese government reportedly knew the disease was spreading before the tweet was sent, according to the South China Morning Post.
- March 20, 2020: The New York Times’ China correspondent, Amy Quin, said Tuesday on Twitter that the country had begun expelling American journalists. Axios reporter Jonathan Swan drew attention to Quin’s story on social media the next day and went on to criticize the Chinese government for instituting a cover-up and failing to deliver life-saving information to the public. “Terrible. We desperately need accurate reporting from China,” he tweeted. “The pandemic originated in Wuhan & was initially covered up by Chinese authorities. University of Southampton study found there would have been a 95 % REDUCTION in cases & less spread if Beijing intervened 3 wks sooner.”
- March 20–23, 2020: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo orders all non-essential businesses to keep their workers home. Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Illinois and many other states issue similar restrictions.
- March 21, 2020: President Trump tweeted about potential coronavirus treatments: “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains — Thank You!
- March 23, 2020: Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told caucus members last week that the coronavirus bill was “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” Clyburn’s comments came on a Thursday call featuring more than 200 House Democrats, during which caucus members laid out a list of provisions they wanted to be included in the Senate’s trillion-dollar package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) slammed Democrats for playing politics in a time of crisis. “All of a sudden, the Democratic leader and the speaker of the House shows up and we’re back to square one,” McConnell said, saying the shift amounted to “obstruction.” “We’re fiddling here, fiddling with the emotions of the American people, fiddling with the markets, fiddling with our health care. The American people expect us to act tomorrow [on the coronavirus bill],” McConnell said. “And I want everybody to fully understand if we aren’t able to act, it’ll be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dicker when the country expects us to come together and address this problem.”
- March 23, 2020: The high number of coronavirus infection cases in Italy may be explained by the expanding air travel with China. Italy is the European nation with the highest number of air connections with China after the air connections between the two countries tripled earlier this year. Italy signed a memorandum of understanding with China in early January 2020 to expand the air links between the two countries to expand tourism.
- March 23, 2020: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres calls for an immediate global ceasefire amid the pandemic to fight “the common enemy.”
- March 23, 2020: In a World Health Organization briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Using untested medicines without the right evidence could raise false hope and even do more harm than good.” He also said that the “pandemic is accelerating. … It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.”
- March 23, 2020: Whether the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, was natural or due to sloppy procedures at a nearby high-security Chinese laboratory that may have been investigating the virus. What is certain is that the highest levels of the Chinese government, up to and including Xi Jinping, lied to the world and undertook a cover-up that allowed the virus to spread out-of-control. It is time for the international community to talk about reparations. At a minimum, the Chinese government should now, and for decades to come, pay the World Health Organization’s multibillion-dollar budget ($4.4 billion for 2018–2019).
- March 24, 2020: The Chinese government claims that the virus could have started in Italy, not China, in as early as October. Additionally, several Chinese diplomats accused the U.S. Army, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for bringing the virus to China.
- March 24, 2020: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach agree to postpone the Olympics “to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021” due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This announcement ended weeks of speculation over whether they would proceed in July. It is the first time in modern Olympic history that a global health issue has disrupted the Games.
- March 24, 2020: The milestone of more than 100,000 patients to successfully recover from the virus is reached, and the lockdown is partially lifted for China’s Hubei Province.
- March 24, 2020: In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders a “complete” lockdown for the 1.3 billion population
- March 24, 2020: President Trump says he wants the country to open by April 12. After tweeting that the “cure” cannot be “worse than the problem itself” as the US economy falters, Trump says on Fox News he would “love to have the country opened up, and just raring to go by Easter”. Medical experts, including Dr. Fauci, have told the media that the virus decides the timeline of a return to normalcy. “The president listens. I mean, he has this aspirational goal of hoping that we might be able to do it by a certain date. We talked with him about that. We say we need to be flexible. He realizes that and he accepts that” Fauci tells Fox News.
- March 24, 2020: Vitamin C has virucidal properties by boosting the immune system against influenza and respiratory diseases. This may be attributable to the formation of the disinfectant — hydrogen peroxide. Pulmonologists and critical-care specialists in New York have been safely prescribing coronavirus hospitalized (intensive-care) patients high doses of “intravenous vitamin C” with success by reducing inflammation and thereby improving lung function. There is no evidence that any OTC supplement can prevent or treat COVID-19. You should not take high doses of oral vitamin C, because it can cause serious side effects like diarrhea.
- March 24, 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Fox News that Trump is flexible on economic restrictions: “The president clearly listens. I mean, he has this aspirational goal of hoping that we might be able to do it by a certain date. We talked with him about that. We say we need to be flexible. He realizes that and he accepts that.”
- March 25, 2020: Virologist predicts that the Coronavirus in the U.S. is likely to resurge in the fall. Data from the CDC shows the first wave of the 1918 influenza outbreak happened in the spring with a second wave occurring in the fall, which was responsible for most of the deaths attributed to the pandemic. The third and final wave happened in winter 1918 and finally subsided in the summer of the following year. About a third of the entire world population was infected with the 1918 flu virus and at least 50 million people died.
- March 25, 2020: The Trump administration reorganized the “pandemic response” team, but some of the team members were reassigned to roles that included pandemic response following John Bolton’s appointment as national security advisor. Bolton called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics and biological attacks. The National Security Council (NSC) was to create the counter-proliferation and biodefense directorate, which was the result of consolidating three directorates into one, given the obvious overlap between arms control and nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, and global health and biodefense.
- March 25, 2020: Deborah Birx, M.D., a respected physician and experienced diplomat who seemingly serves as a voice of reason in her role as coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, praised President Donald Trump as “attentive to the scientific literature and the details” during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. “He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data,” Birx said. “I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues.” She also praised President Trump because he “quickly realized that our current approach to testing was inadequate” and “asked for an entire overhaul”
- March 25, 2020: The White House and Senate leaders reach an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus deal to offset the economic damage of coronavirus, producing one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures in the history of Congress.
- March 25–27, 2020: According to the Sermo’s COVID-19 Real Time Barometer Study, the three most commonly prescribed treatments amongst COVID-19 treaters are 56% analgesics, 41% Azithromycin, and 33% Hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine usage amongst COVID-19 treaters is 72% in Spain, 49% in Italy, 41% in Brazil, 39% in Mexico, 28% in France, 23% in the U.S., 17% in Germany, 16% in Canada, 13% in the UK and 7% in Japan. Hydroxychloroquine was overall chosen as the most effective therapy from a list of 15 options (37% of COVID-19 treaters). 75% in Spain, 53% in Italy, 44% in China, 43% in Brazil, 29% in France, 23% in the U.S., and 13% in the UK. The two most common treatment regimens for Hydroxychloroquine were (38%) 400mg twice daily on day one; 400 mg daily for 5 days and (26%) 400mg twice daily on day one; 200mg twice daily for 4 days. Outside the US, Hydroxychloroquine was equally used for diagnosed patients with mild to severe symptoms whereas in the US it was most commonly used for high risk diagnosed patients. Globally, 19% of physicians prescribed or have seen Hydroxychloroquine prophylactically used for high-risk patients, and 8% for low-risk patients.
- March 25–27, 2020: 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.
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.
- March 30, 2020: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for coronavirus COVID-19 treatment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement that the authorization would allow for 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine donated by Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, and one million doses of chloroquine donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals to be donated to the HHS’ Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). The donated doses of hydroxychloroquine will be “distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” said HHS in its statement.
- March 31, 2020: Trump asks Americans to be prepared for the “hard days that lie ahead.” “This is going to be a very painful — very, very painful two weeks,” he said. “When you look and see at night the kind of death that’s been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s — it’s incredible.” The coronavirus death toll reaches about 3,700.
- 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: New York Gov. Cuomo tells CNN that he’s skeptical improvised face masks work. “Unless the fabric has a certain density, the virus will get through,” he said. “It couldn’t hurt unless it gives the person a false sense of security.”
- April 3, 2020: The U.S. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending Americans wear “non-medical cloth” face coverings to help prevent those with mild symptoms of COVID-19 or who are asymptomatic from spreading the virus. That recommendation was made so the wearer doesn’t pass on the virus. This is a reversal of previous guidance that suggested people should only wear face masks if they’re sick or caring for someone who is sick.
- April 3, 2020: President Trump announces that his administration is recommending people wear nonmedical cloth masks to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. The measure is voluntary. Trump says at a news briefing he does not see himself partaking. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” Trump says, citing difficulty when meeting world leaders “Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I just don’t see it.” The recommendation reportedly came after weeks of heated debate inside the administration, according to reports. Dr. Fauci previously said on March 3 that masks could help, but would not provide protection people hoped. “If everybody does that, we’re each protecting each other,” Fauci says in an interview with PBS after the recommendation was made.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- April 28, 2020: APRIL 28, 2020 — There is “no evidence” that people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can’t be reinfected with the coronavirus that causes the illness, according to the World Health Organization. The agency said that even though survivors have antibodies to the coronavirus, they may not provide adequate protection against a second infection, CBS News reported.
- April 28, 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) issued the warning as the United States and several other countries consider issuing people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 with “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates that would allow returning to work and other activities, based on the assumption that they’re immune to the coronavirus. But the WHO said issuing such documentation could increase the spread of the coronavirus, CBS News reported. “Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection,” WHO said. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
- April 28, 2020: The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses. In 2019, with the backing of NIAID, the National Institutes of Health committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million 5-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4 million. Many scientists have criticized the gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.
- April 28, 2020: The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) research on bat coronaviruses consisted of two parts. The first part began in 2014 and involved surveillance of bat coronaviruses, and had a budget of $3.7 million. The program funded Shi Zheng-Li, a virologist at the Wuhan lab, and other researchers to investigate and catalog bat coronaviruses in the wild. This part of the project was completed in 2019. The second part of the project, beginning that year, included additional surveillance work but also gain-of-function research to understand how Bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans. The project was run by EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit research group, under the direction of President Peter Daszak, an expert on disease ecology. NIH canceled the project just this past Friday, April 24th, 2020 Politico reported. According to Richard Ebright, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers University, the project description refers to experiments that would enhance the ability of bat coronavirus to infect human cells and laboratory animals using techniques of genetic engineering. In the wake of the pandemic, that is a noteworthy detail. Ebright, along with many other scientists, has been a vocal opponent of gain-of-function research because of the risk it presents of creating a pandemic through accidental release from a lab.
- April 28, 2020: A Wuhan laboratory is the “most likely” source of the COVID-19 outbreak now ravaging the globe, according to a U.S. government analysis that catalogs the evidence and concludes that other explanations for the origin of the coronavirus are less credible.
- April 28, 2020: The United Kingdom is on track to become one of Europe’s worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, according to data on Tuesday that showed deaths from COVID-19 had already topped 20,000 by April 17, including a fast-rising toll in care homes.
- April 28, 2020: “The new coronavirus is real. The response to the coronavirus is hyped. And in time, this hype will be revealed as politically hoaxed. COVID-19 will go down as one of the political world’s biggest, most shamefully overblown, overhyped, overly and irrationally inflated and outright deceptively flawed responses to a health matter in American history, one that was carried largely on the lips of medical professionals who have no business running a national economy or government.”
- April 28, 2020: Lighting science technology company Healthe is offering a new product that may be a “game-changer” for businesses looking to mitigate the spread of coronavirus as state economies re-open and employees head back to work. The company’s chief technology officer, former NASA scientist Fred Maxik, has developed the Cleanse Portal, which uses ultraviolet light to sanitize the surface of any person who steps into it. According to Maxik, the “Cleanse Portal” disrupts the ability for viruses and bacteria to replicate, deactivating roughly 90 percent of pathogens on your skin and clothes in roughly 10 to 12 seconds.
- 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 Angle” 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.
- 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.
- 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 1, 2020: Liberation from some coronavirus restrictions will come to 24 Pennsylvania counties in northwestern and north-central Pennsylvania on May 8, Gov. Tom Wolf said. Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said the 24 counties where stay-at-home orders will be lifted were picked by looking at per-capita virus case counts, ability to do contact tracing and testing, and population density. “We know how this virus is transmitted and we know that social distancing works,” Wolf said. “The fewer contacts between residents, the fewer opportunities for the virus to be transmitted and the faster restrictions are going to be lifted.”
- May 1, 2020: Gov. Tom Wolf's first phase of his color-coded reopening plan moves 24 counties in the northwest and north-central areas of Pennsylvania from red, or areas with stay-at-home orders, to yellow, where there are still virus mitigation efforts. Beaver County remains in the red phase, or under a stay-at-home order, as does the rest of southwestern Pennsylvania. While businesses in the 24 counties slated for yellow will be allowed to reopen, “they must proceed by the underlying message of yellow, proceed with caution,” Wolf said. Even in the yellow phase, gathering spots, such as theaters, gyms, and hair and nail salons, will remain closed, restaurants will continue to only be allowed to offer take-out or delivery service. Gatherings of more than 25 people are also prohibited, said state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said, which means that spring youth sports leagues, such as baseball and soccer, will not be starting. “I’m sorry, but organized sports are not going be allowed under the yellow phase,” she said. On Monday, the Wolf administration will release additional guidelines for businesses in the 24 counties. Wolf said businesses must continue to have employees work at home, if possible, and follow strict mitigation efforts if offering in-person service.
- May 1, 2020: Peter Daszak is a British zoologist and an expert on disease ecology, in particular on zoonosis. He is currently president of EcoHealth Alliance, which supports virus research in China, but does not believe the coronavirus pandemic can be attributed to a lab accident. Instead, Daszak believes that it’s much more likely that bats transmitted the disease to people in nature. Based on previous research, Daszak thinks that 1- to 7-million people in Southeast Asia a year are exposed to bat viruses. He told Vox that half-a-dozen people work in the sophisticated labs at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that contain coronavirus cultures: “So let’s compare 1-million to 7-million people a year to half-a-dozen people; it’s just not logical.” Various researchers have other reasons to believe a lab accident couldn’t have happened.
- May 1, 2020: There is solid evidence based on genetic analysis from scientists in multiple countries that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a natural spillover event, with the coronavirus most likely jumping from bats to people, perhaps via an intermediate animal species. What we have less evidence about is where that spillover event happened. While many scientists believe that the coronavirus first infected humans in nature or through the wildlife trade, others think an accident could have occurred during scientific research on coronaviruses or the animals that harbor them.
- May 1, 2020: The U.S. government is providing grants to researchers to make potentially pandemic viruses deadlier and to make them transmissible more easily between people. This type of highly controversial research — banned under the Obama administration after safety incidents demonstrated that lab containment is rarely airtight — began again under the Trump administration, and many scientists and public health researchers think it’s a really bad idea. Our brush with the horrors of a pandemic might force us to reconsider the warnings those experts have been sounding for years. The scientists who do this kind of research argue that we can better anticipate deadly diseases by making diseases deadlier in the lab. But many people at the time and since have become increasingly convinced that the potential research benefits — which look to be limited — just don’t outweigh the risks of kicking off the next deadly pandemic ourselves.
- May 1, 2020: The predominant narrative that the origin of the coronavirus was from the Wuhan food market has been questioned since January. A paper published at the time in The Lancet showed that, while most of the early Covid-19 patients had been directly exposed to the market, many others had no known link.
- May 1, 2020: The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides national health guidance, states in guidelines published on May 1, 2020: “Because COVID‑19 pneumonia is caused by a virus, antibiotics are ineffective unless there is a bacterial co-infection.” The guidelines add: “Evidence so far suggests that bacterial co-infection occurs in less than about 10% of patients with COVID‑19. But patients in critical care have an increased likelihood of bacterial infection compared with patients in other hospital wards or settings.”
- May 1, 2020: Plastic face shields, which are a critical piece of protective gear for many hospital workers, may be a better disease-fighting tool than a mask, for venturing out in public. “Face shields come in various forms, but all provide a clear plastic barrier that covers the face,” Doctors Eli Perencevich, Daniel Diekema, and Michael Edmond wrote in their JAMA Viewpoint. “For optimal protection, the shield should extend below the chin anteriorly, to the ears laterally, and there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece.” A cough simulation study in 2014 suggested that a shield could reduce a person’s viral exposure by 96%. Remember, masks are not a very well-tested virus-catching solution nor do all experts think we should be wearing them.
- May 2, 2020: For years, US diplomats and scientists who visited the Wuhan lab warned the US administration about a lack of safety protocols among scientists studying deadly pathogens. The lab, which is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stores more than 1,500 strains of deadly viruses. The U.S. intelligence community has long worried about the same thing. President Trump said that he had seen evidence linking the coronavirus to a lab in Wuhan after U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that they were looking into “whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.” “During interactions with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” according to a Jan. 19, 2018, diplomatic cable obtained by The Washington Post.
- May 2, 2020: China lied about the origin of coronavirus, an intelligence report says. “A damning dossier leaked from the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance claims that China lied to the world about the human-to-human transmission of the virus, disappeared whistleblowers, and refused to hand over virus samples so the West could make a vaccine. The bombshell 15-page research document also indicated that some of the five intelligence agencies believe that the virus may have been leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a claim initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory because Chinese officials insisted the virus came from the local wet markets, according to the Australian Daily Telegraph.”
- May 2, 2020: Dr. Shi Zhengli, an expert on coronaviruses in bats, directs the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory located in Jiangxia District, Wuhan. The WIV is at the pandemic’s ground zero since it is the focus of a recently leaked bombshell intelligence dossier that accuses the Chinese government of gross cover-ups about the human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus, and says authorities lied about the virus’ rapid spread and suppressed information that could help scientists develop a vaccine. Beijing also locked up whistle-blowing doctors who first reported on the new virus and bleached stalls at outdoor markets in Wuhan where the coronavirus was said to have originated. The 15-page dossier prepared by the “Five Eyes” alliance, an intelligence-sharing coalition of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, also suggests that the coronavirus could have escaped from Shi’s lab. The intelligence report, which was recently leaked to the Australian Daily Telegraph, cites a lack of security protocols at the Wuhan lab that could have caused the virus to escape to the outside world. Dr. Shi admitted she’d endured several sleepless nights. “Could they have come from our lab?” she asked, according to Scientific American, referring to the coronavirus.
- May 4, 2020: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, suggest a coronavirus vaccine could happen in a year to 18 months. However, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has veered towards the more distant end of the spectrum, suggesting that a year may be too soon. But even if a vaccine is developed, bringing it to fruition in any of those timeframes would be a feat never achieved before. “We’ve never accelerated a vaccine in a year to 18 months,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, tells CNN. “It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it will be quite a heroic achievement.”
- May 4, 2020: Whether a vaccine can end this COVID-19 pandemic successfully depends on more than its effectiveness at providing immunity against the virus, or how quickly it can be produced in mass quantities. Americans also must choose to receive the vaccine. According to some estimates, 50% to 70% of Americans would need to develop immunity to COVID-19 — either naturally, or via a vaccine — to thwart the spread of the virus. If these estimates are correct, that could mean that nearly twice as many Americans would need to elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine than those who currently opt to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Just 37% of American adults did so in 2017–2018, even amid a historically severe flu season.
- May 4, 2020: “There are some viruses that we still do not have vaccines against,” says Dr. David Nabarro, a professor of global health at Imperial College London, who also serves as a special envoy to the World Health Organization on Covid-19. “We can’t make an absolute assumption that a vaccine will appear at all, or if it does appear, whether it will pass all the tests of efficacy and safety. “It’s essential that all societies everywhere get themselves into a position where they can defend against the coronavirus as a constant threat and to be able to go about social life and economic activity with the virus in our midst,” Nabarro told CNN.
- May 4, 2020: Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) told Breitbart News this weekend that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would rather investigate President Donald Trump again than focus on the actual origins of the Chinese coronavirus and U.S. tax dollars that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology from which intelligence officials increasingly believe the virus leaked. Reschenthaler discussed his efforts to investigate tax dollars that flowed through a New York firm to the Wuhan lab. He said that Pelosi and House Democrats are not interested in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable and, instead, want to focus their oversight efforts on politically harming President Trump again just like they tried and failed with the partisan impeachment last year and earlier this year.
- May 4, 2020: Rep. Guy Reschenthaler also hopes to get answers as to whether the Chinese Communist Party, while it was getting these U.S. tax dollars into the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was even being forthcoming with U.S. officials about research that was compiled there on such coronaviruses, including potentially the one plaguing the planet right now. “I’d like to add, as we get to the bottom of this, I’d like to see what information we were getting back from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan because something tells me the Chinese Communist Party was taking the money from EcoHealth Alliance — which was, again, a large part came from the United States and our taxpayers — then doing this research, and I don’t know if they were giving us any actual data or scientific findings from what we were funding,” Reschenthaler said. “They certainly didn’t allow American doctors and scientists into Wuhan at the start of this disease. They’ve kept us shut out for a large part. So I want to see if we were being taken advantage of. I suspect that we were by the Chinese Communist Party, and I want to see in the future, when we do give these grants, there is transparency and we get the research that comes from us funding these labs.”
- May 4, 2020: Democrats have brushed off holding China accountable for the coronavirus pandemic and, instead, intend to focus their efforts on attacking President Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose Articles of Impeachment effort against Trump failed this year as the U.S. Senate acquitted the president, has even launched the creation of a select committee of highly partisan Democrats to investigate the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- May 5, 2020: Some people question why the current coronavirus has brought the world to standstill while a previous deadly coronavirus, SARS, did not. Others have questioned why a vaccine is so urgently needed now to stop the spread of the current coronavirus when a vaccine was never developed for SARS. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, was first noted in Guangdong province, China in November of 2002, when doctors there saw an unusual pneumonia. From that point, SARS spread to much of the world, although most cases remained in Asia. The virus was aggressive and lethal. Patients typically showed symptoms within two to three days. There were few reports of any infections without symptoms, as there are with COVID-19. The masks came out, temperature scanners were placed in all major public gathering places in China and other parts of Asia, quarantines were implemented, the virus infection peaked in late May of 2003 and then it disappeared. The strict quarantine measures paid off, and by July 2003, the WHO declared the threat over. In all there were just over 8,000 cases of SARS-CoV-1, and about 700 deaths. In the U.S. there were a total of just 29 confirmed cases, and no deaths. The Hong Kong economy, with a large tourism component, was severely impacted by SARS in 2003, much as the U.S. tourism industry is currently one of the most heavily impacted parts of the economy due to SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 are closely related viruses. Scientists believe that both viruses originated in bats. The RNA genomes of the viruses are about 80% identical. Our own genomes are over 98% identical to those of chimpanzees, so 80% seems a lot less similar. For a virus though, especially one with an RNA genome, this is actually very closely related. How are they different, and how is that impacting the course of the pandemic? SARS-CoV-1 was more aggressive and lethal than SARS-CoV-2. However, SARS-CoV-2 spreads faster, sometimes with hidden symptoms, allowing each infected person to infect several others. Vaccine studies for SARS-CoV-1 were started and tested in animal models. An inactivated whole virus was used in ferrets, nonhuman primates and mice. All of the vaccines resulted in protective immunity, but there were complications; the vaccines resulted in an immune disease in animals. No human studies were done, nor were the vaccine studies taken further because the virus disappeared. Many of the vaccines being developed for SARS-CoV-2 are quite different, and many use only small portions of the virus, or the virus RNA. This may circumvent the problems with SARS-CoV-1 vaccines that used more of the virus. Vaccine development has a large experimental component; we just have to make educated guesses and try different things and see what works. Hence, many different avenues for vaccines are being tested by different labs around the world.
- May 6, 2020: The majority of recently hospitalized coronavirus patients in New York are people who have followed the precaution of staying home, Gov. Cuomo said. The governor also said it was “shocking” that 66% of new coronavirus hospitalizations are people who are either retired or unemployed and not commuting to work regularly. “This is a surprise: Overwhelmingly, the people were at home,” Cuomo said during a briefing on Long Island. “We thought maybe they were taking public transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually no, because these people were literally at home.”
- May 7, 2020: Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) says he has attempted to investigate a New York firm that sent money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, believed to be a place of origin for the virus, but his progress has been impeded by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats. Reschenthaler pointed to several grants given to government agencies that gave money to the EcoHealth Alliance, which has given money to the Wuhan Institute on numerous occasions. He said, “We should have an investigative body looking at these grants, but Nancy Pelosi is not going to do that. I can tell you I’m going to continue to look into these grants. I’m going to continue to look into the Department of Homeland Security as well to see what grants are going from there to China. I’m also looking at defunding the World Health Organization and we can talk about that as well.” He continued, “But the bottom line of the Democrats’ behavior is this: They hate this president so badly that they would rather side with the Chinese Communist Party than defend Americans and defend our spending and spend wisely and just be honest. That is their hatred for President Trump and disdain for President Trump’s supporters.”
- May 7, 2020: Analysis of the coronavirus genetic samples indicated that more infections across the country came from a line of the virus associated with the outbreak in New York City, than from a line associated with the outbreak in Washington State. Geneticists have analyzed and sequenced more than 2,000 samples of the virus from infected people. As the virus infects new people and replicates, it picks up mutations along the way. These mutations typically do not change the behavior of the virus, but they can provide a signature of a virus’s origin. The distribution of genetic lines could change as more samples are analyzed.
- May 7, 2020: New York City’s coronavirus outbreak became the primary source of new infections in the United States, as thousands of infected people traveled from the city and seeded outbreaks around the country. The wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the country before New York City began setting social distancing limits to stop the growth. That helped to fuel outbreaks in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, and as far away as the West Coast. This determination was drawn from geneticists’ tracking signature mutations of the virus, travel histories of infected people, and models of the outbreak by infectious disease experts. “We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary gateway for the rest of the country,” said Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.
- May 7, 2020: The goal of testing the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 illness that it causes in humans, is to identify who is infected and to isolate them, thereby preventing the infection of others. But without a perfect test, false positives and false negatives can lead to significant problems. Recent data suggest that approximately 15% of all tests conducted in the United States are returning false negatives, meaning that of every 100 individuals infected with COVID-19, 15 of them are told they don’t have it. The latest statistics show that approximately 1 million American residents, or about 0.3% of the population, are actively infected with COVID-19 right now. (Note: this includes a positive test for COVID-19, and does not account for false positives, which also exist.) If this number — which many contend is likely an undercount — were actually representative of the entirety of the number of infected Americans who tested positive and are positive for SARS-CoV-2, then that false-negative rate of 15% would translate into an additional 170,000 infected who inaccurately tested negative and be given the “all-clear” to neither quarantine nor self-isolate. With such a large number of infected individuals, including a large number that doesn’t know they are infected (or erroneously think they aren’t because of a negative test), the only responsible course of actions is to behave as though everyone outside of our immediate household is potentially infected, and has the potential to pass that infection onto us and others.
- May 7, 2020: May 7, 2020: Dr. Nathan Grubaugh, Yale epidemiology professor, estimated that infections spreading from New York account for 60 to 65 percent of the sequenced viruses across the country. Other scientists agreed that New York’s prominence in seeding the national spread appears to have begun in early March, two weeks before stay-at-home orders were put in place. “New York acted as the Grand Central Station for this virus, with the opportunity to move from there in so many directions, to so many places,” said David Engelthaler, head of the infectious disease branch of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona. The most commonly detected viruses tied to New York have a distinct genetic signature linking them to outbreaks in Europe. Those spreading from Washington State have a signature linking them directly to China.
- May 7, 2020: More than half of U.S. states have begun to reopen their economies or plan to do so soon. But most fail to meet the criteria recommended by the Trump administration to resume business and social activities. The White House’s guidelines are nonbinding and ultimately leave states’ fates to governors. The criteria suggest that states should have a “downward trajectory” of either documented coronavirus cases or the percentage of positive tests. Public health experts expressed criticism because “downward trajectory” was not defined and the metrics do not specify a threshold for case numbers or positive rates. Still, most states that are reopening fail to adhere to even those recommendations: In more than half of states easing restrictions, case counts are trending upward, positive test results are rising, or both, raising concerns among public health experts.
- May 7, 2020: There are two main types of COVID-19 tests in use. The first is a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction test or RT-PCR. This is the most common diagnostic test used to identify people currently infected with SARS-CoV-2. It works by detecting viral RNA in a person’s cells — most often collected from their nose. The second test is a serological or antibody test. Widespread testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is important to gain information about how widespread the disease is in the U.S. The accuracy of a medical test is determined by measuring two things: sensitivity and specificity. If a test is 90 percent sensitive, it will correctly identify 90 percent of people who are infected — called a true positive. However, 10 percent of people who are infected and tested would get a false negative result — they have the virus, but the test indicates they don’t. A specific test will accurately identify people without the disease. Specificity measures the correct negatives. If a test is 90 percent specific, it will correctly identify 90 percent of people who are not infected — registering a true negative. However, 10 percent of people who are not infected will test positive for the virus and receive a false positive. Thus sensitivity measures positive accuracy; specificity measures negative accuracy. Researchers at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, a nonprofit research center in Geneva, Switzerland tested five COVID-19 RT-PCR tests and found that all five achieved 100 percent sensitivity on positive samples and at least 96 percent specificity on negative samples in a laboratory setting. In the real world, testing conditions and processes are far from perfect, and accuracy suffers. Researchers still don’t know what the real-world false positive rate is, but the clinical sensitivity of RT-PCR tests ranges from 66 to 80 percent. That means nearly one in three infected people who are tested will receive false-negative results. Researchers from the University of California compared 10 serological tests. The sensitivity of the tests was mostly above 90 percent, but specificity is more important when checking for evidence of past infection. False positives then would tell a person they are safe when they aren’t.
- May 8, 2020: A private analysis of cellphone location data purports to show that a high-security Wuhan laboratory studying coronaviruses shut down in October, three sources briefed on the matter told NBC News. U.S. spy agencies are reviewing the document, but intelligence analysts examined and couldn’t confirm a similar theory previously, two senior officials say. The report — obtained by the London-based NBC News Verification Unit — says there was no cellphone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from Oct. 7 through Oct. 24, 2019, and that there may have been a “hazardous event” sometime between Oct. 6 and Oct. 11. Because the Wuhan lab is a high-security facility in an adversary nation studying dangerous pathogens, it is a collection target for several U.S. intelligence agencies, multiple officials told NBC News. Data gathered would include mobile phone signals, communications intercepts, and overhead satellite imagery, the officials said. Analysts are now examining what was collected in October and November for clues suggesting any anomalies at the lab, officials said. President Donald Trump has said he has seen evidence that gives him “a high degree of confidence” that the virus emerged accidentally from a lab, but U.S. intelligence officials say they have not reached that conclusion and lack hard evidence to support it. China has consistently denied that the virus escaped from a lab, and Chinese media recently called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “evil” for suggesting the possibility.
- May 8, 2020: The Japanese coronavirus death rate is a mere 2% of America’s. This comes despite Japan having no lockdown, still-active subways, and many businesses that have remained open — reportedly including karaoke bars, although Japanese citizens and industries are practicing social distancing where they can. Nor have the Japanese broadly embraced contact tracing, a practice by which health authorities identify someone who has been infected and then attempt to identify everyone that person might have interacted with — and potentially infected. So how does Japan do it? “One reason is that nearly everyone there is wearing a mask,” said Dr. De Kai Wu, an American computer scientist with joint appointments at UC Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “What’s most important about wearing masks right now,” said Guy-Philippe Goldstein, an economist, cybersecurity expert, and lecturer at the Ecole de Guerre Economique in Paris, “is that it works, along with social distancing, to flatten the curve of infections as we wait for treatments and vaccines to be developed — while also allowing people to go out and some businesses to reopen.” Their research study, which is based on a computer forecasting model called the masksim simulator, indicated that if 80% of a closed population were to don a mask, COVID-19 infection rates would statistically drop to approximately one-twelfth the number of infections — compared to a live-virus population in which no one wore masks. Anything less, De Kai added, doesn’t work as well. “If you get down to 30 or 40%, you get almost no [beneficial] effect at all.”
- May 8, 2020: As a result of in vitro evidence suggesting zinc sulfate may be efficacious against COVID-19, our hospitals began using zinc sulfate as add-on therapy to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. We performed a retrospective observational study to compare hospital outcomes among patients who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc versus hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone. This study’s conclusion provides the first in vivo evidence that zinc sulfate in combination with hydroxychloroquine may play a role in therapeutic management for COVID-19.
- May 9, 2020: At least 25,600 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database. The virus so far has infected more than 143,000 at some 7,500 facilities. While just about 10 percent of the country’s cases have occurred in long-term care facilities, deaths related to Covid-19 in these facilities account for a third of the country’s pandemic fatalities.
- May 9, 2020: Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force response coordinator, blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a discussion on COVID-19 data in a recent meeting, The Washington Post reported. “There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” she told CDC Director Robert Redfield, two people familiar with the meeting told the newspaper. The Post reported that Birx and others feared that the CDC’s data-tracking system was inflating coronavirus statistics like mortality rates and case numbers by up to 25%. Birx later told the Post in a statement that “mortality is slowly declining each day.” “To keep with this trend, it is essential that seniors and those with comorbidities shelter in place and that we continue to protect vulnerable communities,” she said.
- May 11, 2020: At least 28,100 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes in the U.S., according to a New York Times database. The virus so far has infected more than 153,000 at some 7,700 facilities. Nursing home populations are at a high risk of being infected by — and dying from — the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is known to be particularly lethal to older adults with underlying health conditions and can spread more easily through congregate facilities, where many people live in a confined environment and workers move from room to room. While just 11 percent of the country’s cases have occurred in long-term care facilities, deaths related to Covid-19 in these facilities account for more than a third of the country’s pandemic fatalities.
- May 11, 2020: The recent and ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on adults critically ill with COVID-19 infection. While there is evidence that the burden of COVID-19 infection in hospitalized children is lesser than in their adult counterparts, to date, there are only limited reports describing COVID-19 in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs). In this cross-sectional study of 46 North American PICUs, between March 14 and April 3, 2020, 48 children were admitted to 14 PICUs in the US and none in Canada. A total of 40 children (83%) had preexisting underlying medical conditions, 35 (73%) presented with respiratory symptoms, and 18 (38%) required invasive ventilation, and the hospital mortality rate was 4.2%. This early study shows that COVID-19 can result in a significant disease burden in children but confirms that severe illness is less frequent, and early hospital outcomes in children are better than in adults. This early report describes the burden of COVID-19 infection in North American PICUs and confirms that severe illness in children is significant but far less frequent than in adults. Prehospital comorbidities appear to be an important factor in children. These preliminary observations provide an important platform for larger and more extensive studies of children with COVID-19 infection.
- May 11, 2020: Attorneys general for 18 states have signed a letter, dated May 9, asking bipartisan leaders in both the House and Senate to open hearings into China’s role in the spread of the coronavirus, accusing the nation of “layers of deceit” in a coverup of the severity of the virus while it “wreaked havoc” in the U.S. “Congressional hearings are critical to our nation’s understanding of the origins of COVID-19 and efforts by the communist Chinese government to deceive the international community,” the letter read. The letter was led by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who said that to get to the bottom of the truth “we can’t rely solely on media to do the investigation. We have got to have truly, we have got to have congressional oversight. We have got to go deep into an investigation using the reaches of the federal government.”
- May 11, 2020: President Trump is moving to cut investment ties between U.S. federal retirement funds and Chinese equities, FOX Business has learned in a move that is tied to the handling of COVID 19. In the first letter, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and National Economic Council Chair Larry Kudlow write to U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia stating that the White House does not want the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a federal employee retirement fund, to have money invested in Chinese equities that numbers about $4 billion in assets. It says the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is “Departing from the Board’s established index for the International Stock Investment Fund (I Fund) to track one that maintains Chinese equities is risky and unjustified.” The letter directly links China’s handling of COVID-19 as one of several reasons why investment in Chinese companies should not occur. In the second letter, Scalia writes to Michael Kennedy, the chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, sharing the Kudlow/O’Brien letter noting the two have “grave concerns with the planned investment on grounds of both investment risk and national security.” It concludes by saying that moving the assets out of a certain fund is “at the direction of President Trump.”
- May 11, 2020: As the virus continues its deadly and unpredictable spread across the U.S., the economic losses are piling up as well, with more than 33 million Americans seeking jobless aid since the closures began. The overwhelming majority of states have given businesses the green light to start reopening in hopes of containing the damage, with some going as far as allowing retail stores, restaurants, and hairdressers to start serving customers again in limited capacities. But other holdouts such as New York and Washington — despite revealing phased plans to do so — remain for the most part locked down indefinitely.
- May 11, 2020: Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf announced on May 8 that 13 western counties, including the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, would be permitted to gradually reopen next week, joining 24 counties across the northern part of the state. The only western county held back, Beaver County is home to a severe nursing home outbreak where dozens have died and a congressman is calling for an investigation. Beaver County officials blasted Wolf’s decision at a news conference Friday, saying the entire county shouldn’t be forced to stay shut down because of the problems at a single facility. The Beaver County district attorney, meanwhile, said he doesn’t want local police enforcing the business shutdown, nor would he prosecute violators. “Our business owners and residents cannot become prisoners in our county,” said Daniel Camp III, chairman of the Beaver County Board of Commissioners, calling Wolf’s decision to keep Beaver locked down “unwarranted and irrational.”
- May 12, 2020: Dr. Scott Atlas stated that a “targeted policy” for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus is a more viable approach than a large scale economic shutdown, a move that has caused “destruction” and death. “The cure is bigger than the disease at this point,” the senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University said. The former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford noted that there is a focus on the “sensationalistic modulations of a hypothetical projection model” instead of assessing the costs of a “total isolation policy.” Atlas claimed that the policy of “total isolation” is “destructive and killing people.” “I’ll give you an example: 150,000 new patients with cancer are diagnosed every single month in the United States. … Most of them are not getting diagnosed,” Atlas said. Atlas also said that half of the people on chemotherapy are not getting the routine cancer treatment, in addition to other routine medical procedures because of “irrational fear” about the virus. “For people who care about every life, what about the United Nations projection saying that the economic lockdown itself will throw an extra 125 million people into starvation? We’re not talking about poverty like the U.S. knows, we’re talking about less than $5.50 per day living.” Atlas went on to say, “The curves have been flattened. We actually know how to do a targeted protection policy. Frankly, I’m wondering why it took seven weeks after the lockdown of New York on March 20th to finally realize that the older vulnerable people need strict protection, with testing entrances into nursing homes, for instance.”
- May 12, 2020: Without a coronavirus vaccine, it will take far longer for humans to reach collective immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to early estimates from US health experts, at least 70% of the population may need to develop immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, either by exposure to it or through vaccination, to achieve herd protection. “We’re not going to get this virus under control until either we get a vaccine or it infects 80% or 90% of the population, and the latter is an outcome we don’t want because a lot more people will die,” infectious disease researcher Sarah George, MD, who is the principal investigator of a leading clinical trial for Remdesivir at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, told Popular Science. Importantly, if and when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, it will be able to produce herd immunity only if an overwhelming majority of Americans get vaccinated.
- May 12, 2020: Dr. Fauci’s said, during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, “If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections that will be in the community, then we run the risk of having a resurgence,” said Dr. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is at the forefront of efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine. If states reopen their economies too soon, he warned, “there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” which could result not only in “some suffering and death that could be avoided, but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery.”
- May 12, 2020: Researchers at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine found patients given a drug combination including the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine along with zinc sulfate and the antibiotic azithromycin were 44 percent less likely to die from the coronavirus. “Certainly we have very limited options as far as what we have seen work for this infection so anything that may work is very exciting,” said Dr. Joseph Rahimian, Infectious Disease Specialist at NYU Langone Health. The study looked at the records of 932 COVID-19 patients treated at local hospitals with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. More than 400 of them were also given 100 milligrams of zinc daily. Researchers said the patients given zinc were one and a half times more likely to recover, decreasing their need for intensive care.
- May 13, 2020: Adding zinc to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin might help the drug combination resolve COVID-19. A recent study found that patients given zinc were 1.5 times more likely to recover from the disease, reducing their need for intensive care and ventilation, compared to those who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone. Zinc, available as an over-the-counter supplement, has long been viewed as an immune-system booster that helps in the development of immune cells — or antibodies — and strengthen the body’s response to a virus or other pathogen, according to Adrian Gombart, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute. Gombart was not part of the NYU-led study. How zinc bolsters hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, though, isn’t exactly clear. Rahimian told UPI that hydroxychloroquine acts as an “ionophore” — essentially, a transporter — that “helps get zinc into patients’ immune cells.” “Nobody knows exactly how this combination works,” Gombart said. “There is a suggestion that zinc may influence the replication of coronaviruses … and that hydroxycholorquine might help zinc get into cells faster and slow virus replication.”
- May 13, 2020: The ideal vaccine should protect everyone and cause lifelong defenses with a single dose. It would be quick to produce, affordable, easy to administer (nasal or oral administration), and not need refrigeration, for non-specialists to distribute it to hard-to-reach parts of the world. It is not fully understood how to produce a vaccine that induces long-lived protective immunity for different viruses. For some infections, we need to administer booster vaccinations. Aging comes with a tired immune system that struggles to respond to vaccination, and this is also the case for people with weakened immune systems, so it is difficult to protect the most vulnerable. Thus vaccination programs that protect over 80% of the population can reduce the incidence of virus spreading and protect the vulnerable by proxy, through herd immunity.
- May 13, 2020: Americans will likely get Sanofi’s Covid-19 vaccine before the rest of the world if the French pharmaceutical giant can successfully deliver one. That’s because the U.S. was first in line to fund Sanofi’s vaccine research, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “The U.S. government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Hudson said. The U.S., which expanded a vaccine partnership with the company in February, expects “that if we’ve helped you manufacture the doses at risk, we expect to get the doses first.”
- May 13, 2020: The U.S Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a “public service announcement” warning that China is likely launching cyberattacks to steal coronavirus data related to vaccines and treatments from U.S. research institutions and pharmaceutical companies, calling it a “significant threat.” The joint warning from the FBI and DHS’s cyber arm, CISA, warns “organizations researching COVID-19 of likely targeting and network compromise by the People’s Republic of China. Healthcare, pharmaceutical, and research sectors working on COVID-19 response should all be aware they are the prime targets of this activity and take the necessary steps to protect their systems.” The notification elevates the accusation by the U.S. government that China is taking advantage of the pandemic to carry out significant cyber espionage on critical institutions fighting the virus.
- May 13, 2020: It is debatable whether asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carriers are contagious. A recent study concluded that the infectivity of some asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers might be weak.
- May 13, 2020: During a meeting with the governors of Colorado and North Dakota, President Trump links reopening the economy with reopening schools. Trump said: “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.”
“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.”
- May 14, 2020: Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wears a mask — as do the governments covering 90% of the world’s population — but, so far, only 12 states in the U.S. require it. In the majority of the remaining states, the CDC recommendation has not been enough: Most people do not currently wear masks. In a paper that has not yet been peer-reviewed, researchers found that micro-droplets fell out of the air within 1.5 meters of the person who was wearing a mask, versus 5 meters for those not wearing masks. When combined with social distancing, this suggests that masks can effectively reduce transmission via micro-droplets. There are numerous studies that suggest if 80% of people wear a mask in public, then COVID-19 transmission could be halted. Until a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19 is discovered, cloth face masks might be the most important tool we currently have to fight the pandemic. Given all of the laboratory and epidemiological evidence, the low cost of wearing masks — which can be made at home with no tools — and the potential to slow COVID-19 transmission with widescale use, policymakers should ensure that everyone wears a mask in public.
- May 14. 2020: Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday will move Beaver County into the yellow phase of his COVID-19 reopening plan and allow it to reopen on May 22, multiple sources told The Times. Three elected officials with knowledge of the governor’s plans said Beaver County would be shifted to yellow following a week of criticism leveled at him by county commissioners, state legislators and residents angry that the county was the only one in southwestern Pennsylvania not allowed to reopen on May 8. On Thursday, Beaver County had 512 cases and 82 deaths, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). More than 350 residential cases and at least 71 deaths have been attributed to Brighton Rehab, where DOH has installed a temporary manager and Pennsylvania National Guard medical personnel has been assigned to help stem the outbreak. Several lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17, Mount Lebanon, and state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-16, Ambridge, have called for Brighton Rehab to be investigated. State Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-10, New Beaver, said late Thursday that he was pleased to hear Wolf would include the county in his next reopening announcement. “Clearly, Gov. Wolf heard the concerns of the people of Beaver County, and, while it was delayed, I’m happy that Beaver County is moving into the yellow phase,” he said. “I’ve heard from people who are ready to go back to work and are confident they can do that in a safe way,” he said. “Nobody should be prohibited from putting food on the table for the families.”
- May 14, 2020: Novartis AG Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan said a vaccine for Covid-19 may only become available in the second half of next year, echoing the consensus view in much of the pharmaceutical industry. “The ultimate way to deal with this pandemic is likely to be a vaccine against Covid-19,” the CEO wrote in an opinion piece published in Switzerland’s Handelszeitung Thursday. “That will take more time — my guess is about one and a half to two years.”
- May 14, 2020: U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced “Operation Warp Speed,” which seeks to produce 300 million immunizations by the end of this year.
- May 14, 2020: Bill Gates, whose foundation is focusing on fighting Covid-19, has said he expects it will take somewhere between nine months and two years to deliver a vaccine.
- May 14, 2020: Public Health England (PHE) announced that the scientific experts at its Porton Down facility carried out an independent evaluation of a new antibody blood test developed by Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. The examination claimed that the serology test was “highly specific” and had an accuracy of 100 percent. The findings have been hailed as a “very positive development” in combating the coronavirus outbreak. The test is designed to help determine if a patient has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and whether they have developed antibodies against it. The detection of these antibodies could help to indicate if a person has gained immunity against the virus. Professor John Newton, the national coordinator of the UK Coronavirus Testing Programme, said: “This is a very positive development because such a highly specific antibody test is a very reliable marker of past infection. “This may indicate some immunity to future infection although the extent to which the presence of antibodies indicates immunity remains unclear.”
- May 14, 2020: During the swine flu pandemic in 2009, many countries scrambled to obtain vaccines. Australia stopped a domestic drugmaker from exporting doses to the U.S. until it had immunized its entire population, while President Obama delayed a promise to donate vaccines to poorer countries to prioritize distribution in the US. There is hope that even the most nationalist politician will reason that in an interrelated world it is counter-productive to concentrate only on their citizens. Gayle Smith, chief executive of the One Campaign against poverty, says: “There’s a natural tendency for every national leader to think: ‘Oh my God, I have to get all the vaccines possible for my country.’ But to overcome that, they need to think that to succeed you can’t have the virus running rampant in other countries. A fragmented approach will take us longer to come out of this pandemic.” An international approach is necessary for the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
- May 14, 2020: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus spreads primarily “from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.” “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,” according to the CDC. “The virus does not spread easily in other ways.” However, “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,” the CDC says. “This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.”
- May 14, 2020: Cyril H. Wecht, who served for more than two decades as Allegheny County coroner and medical examiner, wrote: “We have an obligation to save lives, but we also have the responsibility and right to enjoy our lives and to not compromise the lives of non-COVID-infected individuals. More than 90% of people who develop COVID-19 infections have no symptomatology or awareness of their illness at all, or only suffer the equivalent of a two- to three-day cold. The time to dispense with panic and hysteria has arrived. A return to a functioning civilized society is now overdue. The overall restrictive measures that have been imposed are simply unsustainable.”
- May 15, 2020: Sweden has taken a controversially relaxed approach to COVID-19. It has not initiated a nationwide lockdown to flatten the curve. Instead, Sweden is relying on herd immunity to stop the transmission of the virus through mass infection. Scientists have pointed out that during the years that people would have to wait for herd immunity to be achieved, hundreds of thousands of people could die from COVID-19. And beyond that, it remains unknown if antibodies from COVID-19 even result in long-term immunity. Data suggests that no place has reached herd immunity to the coronavirus — less than 10% of the world has been exposed to the virus, according to estimates. Experts say herd immunity requires 50 to 70% of the population to be exposed to the virus. Business Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported that without a vaccine, it could take four to five years to reach that point. Epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University have called the concept herd immunity a “dangerous misconception” and said the US remains vulnerable to the virus. The World Health Organization also criticized the idea of herd immunity. “This idea that, ‘Well, maybe countries who had lax measures and haven’t done anything will all of a sudden magically reach some herd immunity, and so what if we lose a few old people along the way?’ This is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation,” Mike Ryan, WHO’s executive director of health emergencies, said. Emily Toth Martin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health told Business Insider reporter Anna Medaris Miller that the only way to gain herd immunity from the virus is through a vaccine. “This is not just about getting through the current crisis,” she added. “If this virus stays around, we need a vaccine to prevent resurgences in future generations.”
- May 15, 2020: President Trump announced “Operation Warp Speed” — a new initiative aimed at developing, manufacturing, and distributing a “proven” coronavirus vaccine. Trump described the administration’s plan as “a massive scientific industrial and logistical endeavor, unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project” of World War II, with the intent to rapidly develop and distribute a vaccine with help from the U.S. military and world-renowned doctors and scientists. “We’d love to see if we can do it prior to the end of the year,” the president said. “We think we’re going to have some very good results coming out very quickly.” The administration is providing roughly $10 billion through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support the medical research effort, including funding for vaccine development, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Operation Warp Speed aims to have substantial quantities of a safe and effective vaccine available for Americans by January 2021.
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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- May 22, 2020: Furthering his plan for reopening Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today announced eight additional counties will move to yellow and 17 to green, effective at 12:01 a.m., May 29. All remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5 at 12:01 a.m. Gov. Wolf tweeted “Today I announced the first PA counties moving from the yellow to the green phase of reopening. The hallmark of the green phase is self-responsibility. Above all else, it’s on us as Pennsylvanians to be entrusted with using good judgment.” “We know not only that we succeeded in slowing case growth, but that our actions, our collective decisions to stay at home and avoid social contact — we know that saved lives,” Gov. Wolf said. “My stay-at-home order did exactly what it was intended to do: It saved lives and it bought us valuable time.” Gov. Wolf referred to a study by Drexel University that indicates that in Philadelphia alone, 60 days of staying at home resulted in more than 7,000 lives saved and prevented more than 68,000 people from needing hospitalization.
- May 22, 2020: Stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus could end up causing “irreparable damage” if imposed for too long, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go,” he told CNBC. We certainly support cautious reopening. Fauci said during an interview with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on “Halftime Report.” He said the U.S. had to institute severe measures because Covid-19 cases were exploding then. “But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal.” However, Fauci also cautioned states against reducing social distancing measures too quickly, adding they must take “very significant precautions.” “In general, I think most of the country is doing it in a prudent way,” he said. “There are obviously some situations where people might be jumping over that. I just say please proceed with caution if you’re going to do that.”
- May 22. 2020: Governor Tom Wolf plans to renew the disaster emergency declaration he signed in response to the spread of the coronavirus. Democracies are set up in a way to allow it to move in a fast way in response to disasters, and this certainly is a disaster as both the U.S. and state Supreme Court has said,” said Governor Wolf.The disaster emergency Wolf signed on March 6 is set to expire early next month. He expects to renew it for another 90 days, but notes he has the option to terminate it early.
- May 22, 2020: President Trump announced Friday that all houses of worship would be considered “essential services” and urged governors to “do the right thing” and reopen them immediately — adding that he would “override” them if they didn’t. “Today, I am identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosques, as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump declared in a sudden White House briefing.
- May 22, 2020: Dr. Deborah Birx of the Coronavirus Task Force said that while the president wants houses of worship opened this weekend, some may want to wait to protect their congregations. “The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors,” Trump said. “I want to get the churches open . . . including mosques.”
- May 24, 2020: A quarter of Americans have little or no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll published on May 21, with some voicing concern that the record pace at which vaccine candidates are being developed could compromise safety. Less than two-thirds of respondents said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in a vaccine, a figure some health experts expected would be higher given the heightened awareness of COVID-19 and the more than 92,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States alone. “It’s a little lower than I thought it would be with all the attention to COVID-19,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease and vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “I would have expected somewhere around 75 percent.” Fourteen percent of respondents said they were not at all interested in taking a vaccine, and 10% said they were not very interested. Another 11% were unsure. Studies are underway, but experts estimate that at least 70% of Americans would need to be immune through a vaccine or prior infection to achieve what is known as “herd immunity,” when enough people are resistant to an infectious disease to prevent its spread.
- May 24, 2020: Vaccine skepticism is not especially partisan, and it draws from elements of both the left and the right. But the politicization of COVID-19 could affect skepticism of a COVID-19 vaccine asymmetrically. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 24 percent of Americans have little or no interest in getting a coronavirus vaccine. When asked about a scenario in which President Trump affirmed that the vaccine was safe, 14 percent said they would be more interested, but 36 percent said they would be less interested.
- May 26, 2020: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged an inability to accurately determine if individuals had been infected with Covid-19 via antibody tests; if the test is used in a population where prevalence is low, it’s possible that “less than half of those testing positive will truly have antibodies.”
- May 27, 2020: In the past 20 years, there have been a series of viral outbreaks: Sars in 2002–03, H5N1 (bird flu) in 2006, H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009, Ebola in 2013, Mers in 2015. Each briefly threatened to become a pandemic, before subsiding. Western governments interpreted this to mean that Covid-19 would go the same way. Western governments acted late on Covid-19 in part because, without a visceral intuition of danger, they coolly awaited for more information. It took the steeply rising death tolls to finally jolt the West into action.
- May 27, 2020: Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, tweeted a message to the families and friends of those who have died. “There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they’re forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments,” he wrote. “To those hurting, I’m so sorry for your loss. The nation grieves with you.” The victims have represented some of the best of humanity: An ER doctor who risked his life trying to save others. A grandmother and refugee who worked tirelessly to provide a better life for her children. A 36-year-old principal who helped troubled students grow produce for the needy. A Holocaust survivor who saved dozens of families from genocide. Their lives are gone, but the collective struggle remains. Coronavirus is still spreading unabated, and no one knows how many more Americans will die from Covid-19.
- May 28, 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. There have been nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases of the virus across the country (out of more than 5.6 million cases worldwide). New York continues to have the highest number of deaths of any state in the U.S., with more than 29,000. New Jersey, the state with the second-highest toll, has lost over 11,000 people to the illness. The virus has had a disproportionate impact on people of color. The African American and Latin American communities in particular have been afflicted with high numbers of cases and a greater share of fatalities. In addition, a significant portion of coronavirus deaths is occurring in nursing homes across the country. Just last week, over 30% of total coronavirus deaths were connected to nursing homes. A lack of staff at these facilities may have made the problem worse. CBS News found that roughly 1 in 15 U.S. nursing homes were cited last year for failing to meet standards for “sufficient nursing staff.”
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 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.
- 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.
- June 6, 2020: Beaver County, Pa has seen significant case numbers and deaths at Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center. Last week, the Secretary of Health and Human Services announced a federal investigation is being launched after case numbers at the facility topped 350, with more than 70 deaths reported.
- June 8, 2020: Since June 1, fourteen states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The pandemic’s first wave burned through dense metro hubs such as New York City, Chicago, and Detroit, however, the highest percentages of new cases are coming from places with much smaller populations. The new coronavirus cases surging across the rural United States are found in counties with fewer than 60,000 people.
- June 8, 2020: Coronavirus patients who don’t have any symptoms aren’t driving the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials said Monday, casting doubt on concerns by some researchers that the virus could be difficult to contain due to asymptomatic infections.
- June 8, 2020: President Trump celebrates the recovery of 4.8 million jobs, comparing the coronavirus with a hurricane. “The hurricane goes away, and within two hours, everyone is rebuilding and fixing and cleaning and cutting their grass,” Trump said.
- June 8, 2020: The World Health Organization made noise Monday when the head of its emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, said during a briefing that transmission of the novel coronavirus by asymptomatic carriers is “very rare.” Citing data WHO has collected, Van Kerkhove said spread from asymptomatic and presymptomatic people does occur, but recommended focusing on tracing and isolating symptomatic people to better attack the outbreak. While the comments drew questions from experts on Twitter, it may simply be an issue of semantics, with Dr. Isaac Bogoch and Dr. Allan Detsky of the University of Toronto previously pointing out the misuse of the term “asymptomatic” when referring to “presymptomatic” patients. While asymptomatic people never show signs of the coronavirus, presymptomatic people exhibit no signs of contracting the disease for the first few days before experiencing the classic symptoms. Dr. Ashish K. Jha, director at the Harvard Global Health Institute, tweeted out the distinction and noted that the agency “should be clearer in communication, also noting that some models “suggest 40–60% of spread is from people when they didn’t have symptoms.” The fact that symptoms aren’t immediately present in people that have contracted the virus is a key reason for containment measures and safety protocols like masks, with the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention writing in April, “The potential for presymptomatic transmission underscores the importance of social distancing, including the avoidance of congregate settings, to reduce Covid-19 spread.” Van Kerkhove also stated that seemingly asymptomatic carriers just didn’t recognize the signs of the virus: “When we actually go back and say, ‘How many of them were truly asymptomatic?’ we find out that many have really mild disease, very mild disease.” “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,” Van Kerkhove later tweeted.
“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.”
- 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.
- 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.