This post was written by David Lee, 3rd year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
Have you had a difficult time following the COVID-19 pandemic? See below for a quick summary of the COVID-19 timeline, organized by month.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is first alerted about an unusual pneumonia that has affected dozens of patients in Wuhan, China. Although health officials were unable to determine the original cause of the respiratory illness, they discovered that many of the patients had been exposed to a local seafood market named “Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.”
With the start of the new year, health officials in China found that the number of new cases of the mysterious illness was increasing sharply. This led to the official closure of the Huanan Seafood Market, with orders for urgent sanitization. On January 7th, scientists discovered that the cause of the infections was due to a virus from the SARS coronavirus family; they called it 2019-nCoV. During this month, coronavirus claimed its first deaths in China, and began appearing in numerous countries including Japan, Thailand, South Korea, United Kingdom, Russia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Vietnam, France, Italy, India, Tibet, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Canada, and the United States. It was reported that most, if not all, of the patients had some kind of contact with Wuhan, China. By the end of the month, Wuhan was placed under quarantine and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Donald Trump administration also declared that it would deny entry into the US to those with recent travel to China.
Cases began to quickly rise globally, with the first death outside China being reported in the Philippines on February 2nd. On February 4th, a cruise ship in Japan was found to have multiple cases of Coronavirus and was placed under quarantine until the 19th. On the 11th, the World Health Organization officially named the pandemic as “COVID-19.” The National Institute of Health began its first clinical trials on the use of an antiviral drug called “remdesivir” to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19. By the end of the month, severe outbreaks of COVID-19 were reported in Iran and Italy, and the United States experienced its first COVID-19 death outside of Seattle, WA.
COVID-19 cases continued to soar. Italy declared a national lockdown for the entire country, and the World Health Organization officially announced COVID-19 as a pandemic. By mid-March, most, if not all, of the United States declared a state of emergency, with New York City alone reporting over 20,000 cases. By this point, President Trump restricted travel from Europe for 30 days, declared a national emergency, and passed a coronavirus relief package. On March 25th, the federal government approved a $2 trillion stimulus deal, which was signed into law a few days later. The Olympics were also postponed until 2021. At the end of the month, health officials in China reported that there were no new documented coronavirus cases in that area.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continued to rise, with over 500,000 documented cases. New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and New Jersey were some of the areas that have been hit the hardest. U.S. Health officials began recommending that everyone wear some type of face mask/covering when in public areas.
Thank you for reading. If you would like more information, please see the attached news sources.