COVID-19 Timeline

December 31, 2019, China alerted the WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. The virus was unknown.

January 1, 2020, several of those infected worked at the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down. As health experts worked to identify the virus amid growing alarm, the number of infections exceeded 40.

January 7, 2020, Chinese officials announced they had identified a new virus, according to the WHO. The novel virus was named 2019-nCoV and was identified as belonging to the coronavirus family, which includes SARS and the common cold.

January 11, 2020, China announced its first death from the virus, a 61-year-old man who had purchased goods from the seafood market. Treatment did not improve his symptoms after he was admitted to hospital and he died of heart failure on the evening of January 9. 

January 13, 2020, the WHO reported a case in Thailand, the first outside of China, in a woman who had arrived from Wuhan.

January 15, 2020, a US man returned from Wuhan on Jan. 15, two days before passenger screening was instituted at three major airports in the United States, but he had no symptoms at the time.

January 17, 2020, as a second death was reported in Wuhan, health authorities in the US announced that three airports would start screening passengers arriving from the city.

January 20, 2020, the US man who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 15 tested positive for the virus in Washington State.

January 21, 2020, United States confirmed its first case in Washington state, a man who traveled to the Wuhan area.

January 23, 2020, Wuhan was placed under effective quarantine as air and rail departures were suspended.

January 30, 2020, the WHO declared coronavirus a global emergency as the death toll in China jumped to 170, with 7,711 cases reported in the country, where the virus had spread to all 31 provinces. The WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The United States issues a Level 4 travel advisory for all of China.

February 5, 2020, CDC began shipping diagnostic test kits to more than a hundred labs in the United States.

February 12, 2020, United States confirmed fourteenth case. Some U.S. states found testing kits distributed by CDC deliver “inconclusive” results.

February 21, 2020, mainland China, the death toll reached 2,236 as the confirmed cases of the infection rose above 75,400. In Italy, the region of Lombardy reported the first local transmission of the virus with three new cases bringing the total in the country to six infections.

February 25, 2020, U.S. senators received a classified briefing on the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. U.S. CDC warned that spread to the United States is likely and that people should prepare. San Francisco became the first U.S. city to declare a state of emergency over COVID-19.

February 29, 2020, the United States reported its first death, a man in his fifties with an underlying health condition. Washington state declared a state of emergency.

March 3, 2020, Italy announced the death toll in the country reached 77. U.S. Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point.

March 7, 2020, the coronavirus killed nearly 3,500 people and infected another 102,000 people across more than 90 countries. China’s Health Commission reported 99 new cases, down from 143 cases the day before, with a total of 80,651 cases nationwide. Official data, meanwhile, showed China’s exports plunging 17.2 percent in the first two months of the year after the outbreak brought much of the country to a halt.

March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, as Turkey, Ivory Coast, Honduras and Bolivia confirmed their first cases. 

March 16, 2020, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the city’s bars, theatres and cinemas to close down, as the number of cases continued to rise in the US.

March 17, 2020, Italy reported 345 new coronavirus deaths in the country over the past 24 hours taking its total death toll to 2,503 – an increase of 16 percent. The total number of cases in Italy rose to 31,506 from a previous 27,980, up 12.6 percent – the slowest rate of increase since the contagion came to light on February 21.

March 18, 2020, Italy, meanwhile, recorded 475 new deaths, the highest one-day toll of any nation, taking its total to 2,978. The total number of infections in the country reached 35,713. For the first time since the start of the epidemic, no new domestic cases were reported in China. 

March 19, 2020, Italy overtook China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths, registering 3,405 dead compared to 3,245 in China.

March 21,2020, Europe remains the epicenter of the coronavirus with Italy reporting 793 new fatalities, its biggest daily increase, bringing the total number of deaths to 4,825 amid 53,578 cases. Spain is the second worst-hit country in Europe with more than 21,000 infections and at least 1,000 deaths. To help each European country to contain the pandemic, the EU has taken the unprecedented step to suspend rules on public deficits, giving countries free rein to inject spending into the economy as needed.

March 25, 2020, The White House and Senate leaders of both parties struck an agreement on a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses and a healthcare system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

March 26, 2020, the total number of coronavirus cases globally surpassed 500,000. 

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