Hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens traveled across the country to make their way home to celebrate the new year. 5 million took to airplanes for destinations around the world.
Jan. 1: The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan closed due to fear of coronavirus transmission.
Jan. 3: The Chinese CDC told US CDC Director Robert Redfield that a mysterious illness was spreading in Wuhan.
Jan. 4: The WHO reported that there was a cluster of pneumonia cases – with no deaths – in Wuhan, Hubei Province. WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said widespread travel bans weren’t needed to beat China virus and denied human to human transmission.
Jan. 11: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced the first death caused by the coronavirus.
Jan. 13: Thailand reported the first case of coronavirus outside of China.
Jan 18: President Trump was provided substantial information about the outbreak occurring in China and received warning that China might be downplaying the severity of the situation.
Jan. 20: US patient zero, identified as a resident of Snohomish County, Washington, who was returning from China on Jan. 15 was diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus.
Jan. 20: China confirmed the virus spreads from human to human transmission.
Jan. 21: The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) launched the Think Global Health website. The website explores how changes in health shape global trends.
Jan. 21-24: The World Economic Forum determined that The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with support from Moderna would begin developing an mRNA vaccine against 2019-nCOV.
Jan. 22: President Trump stated “we have everything under control” and that he trusted information coming from China and President Xi.
Jan. 23: China took draconian measures to stop the spread in Wuhan including, forced quarantines and forcefully removing people suspected of infection from their homes. Domestic travel was banned, but international travel was still allowed.
Jan. 25: A group of four US Senators sold stocks before the stock market crashed in the face of the global pandemic sparking accusations of foreknowledge and insider trading.
Jan. 29: In a Wired article entitled “We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus”, the author criticized the authoritarian response China and other governments enacted to curtail the virus stating, “Perhaps they should spend more time communicating that the coronavirus may be just another virus that will circulate in human populations for a number of years and that eventually there will be a vaccine and reasonably effective therapies.”
Jan. 30: WHO Declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At the time of the declaration there were only 150 confirmed cases outside China.
Jan. 30: President Trump created the Coronavirus Task Force assembling top US subject matter experts including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci (NIAID), Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Robert Redfield (CDC), Dr. Jerome Adams (Surgeon General) and several others.
Jan. 31: President Trump banned all incoming flights from China to the US and denied entry to all foreign nationals who traveled to China within the past 14 days. Racial tensions against Chinese and other Asians began to increase in the US and other Western nations. Political opponents slammed the decision and accused the President of stoking racism and xenophobia towards Chinese and Asian citizens.
Jan. 31: Time Magazine published an article entitled “Want to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus? Do the Same Things You Do Every Winter” in which the author stated, “While 2019-nCoV has never been seen before, it’s part of a family of viruses that are well-known both to doctors and the public; the common cold, for example, can be caused by certain coronaviruses. And while influenza is not a coronavirus, it isn’t so different from 2019-nCoV, either… The things we take for granted actually do work. It doesnʼt matter what the virus is. The routine things work.”
Early Feb: COVID-19 became the official name of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The virus itself is dubbed SARS-CoV-2.
Feb. 1: An article called “Get a Grippe, America: The flu is a much bigger threat than coronavirus, for now” was posted at the Washington Post.
Feb. 1: USA Today published an article titled “Coronavirus is scary, but the flu is deadlier, more widespread” in which the author states, “So far, there have been an estimated 19 million cases of flu, 180,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 deaths in the U.S. this influenza season – including 68 children.”
Feb. 3: WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and former member of the communist organization known as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) supported China’s assertions that international travel was safe and praised China’s response in handling the crisis. Dr. Ghebreyesus is also not a medical doctor. He is the first WHO Director not to have this distinction.
Feb 4: A PREP Act declaration was issued to provide liability immunity for losses relating to the administration of medical countermeasures such as diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. The Secretary of HHS invoked the PREP Act and declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be a public health emergency warranting liability protections for covered countermeasures.
Feb. 6: The Federal Reserves quarantined the paper money supply repatriated from Asia as a precaution measure against spready the virus
Feb. 7: Li Wenliang a whistleblowing Chinese doctor who tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak died from the disease.
Feb. 17: Dr. Fauci said that the risk of contracting coronavirus in US was miniscule, air travel was safe and there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.
Feb. 24: Moderna Inc, supported by CEPI, announced that its experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, was ready for human testing.
Feb. 25: A study by Taiwanese scholar Fang Chi-tai claimed that COVID-19 was man-made after discovering “four more amino acids in the gene sequence of COVID-19 than other known coronaviruses, which could be added artificially to make the viral transmission easier.”
Feb. 25: In the ‘Great CEO Exodus of 2020’ it was revealed that 1,480 CEO’s left their jobs in 2019 with another 219 leaving in January 2020. Chief executives and financial officers sold and estimated $26 billion in shares in 2019.
Feb 26: Professor Didier Raoult, a preeminent French microbiologist and director of the Mediterranean Infection Institute (IHU) strongly advocated for the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat people with coronavirus.
Feb 27: CDC Director Robert Redfield made a strong statement against the public wearing masks saying:
There is no role for these masks in the community…These masks need to be prioritized for health care professionals that as part of their job are taking care of individuals.
Feb. 27: Concerns about reinfection began as a woman in her 40s living in Japan tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, less than four weeks after recovering from her first infection.
Feb. 28: WHO Director General Dr. Ghebreyesus warned that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 was very high at a global level.
Feb. 28: In a published statement by the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Fauci and other co-authors stated:
…the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.
Feb: Iran became a new epicenter of COVID-19 infection with a disproportionate number of cases among senior government officials.
Feb: China shut down many of the factories that produced goods shipped around the world. The U.S. expressed concern about delays in receiving medical supplies and other vital products needed.
Late Feb. – Early March: Globally, more than 50% of the infected patients recovered and were discharged from the hospitals.