By Kate Moore & Joycelin Wong
Disrupting everyday life, hampering global travel, and crippling supply chains, the novel Coronavirus, a rapidly-spreading virus, continues to leave its mark on the world as it advances around the globe. Victims ranging from as young as a newborn baby to as old as a 98-year-old have been infected with the virus. The mass hysteria and fear surrounding the pandemic has led to the bulk-buying of face masks, hand sanitizers, toilet paper, food, etc. As the death toll rises and more cities shut down, there is still information that remains unknown about the virus. Transforming the economy, medical world, and day-to-day lives of many, this sickness has reshaped the way in which the public tackles a mysterious pandemic.
What is the coronavirus?
Coronavirus can be defined as any group of RNA viruses that cause a variety of diseases in humans and other animals. The virus presents itself in a variety of ways, including: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 is generally a new disease, and there is more to discover regarding how the disease is spread and prevented. The virus mainly spreads from person-to-person; however, the way in which the disease spreads varies from case to case. Older people and those with pre-existing health conditions are the most susceptible to the disease, but almost anyone can be infected. There is currently no vaccine to protect against the disease, but there are precautions people can take. The main form of prevention is to avoid being exposed to the virus; however, minor steps can be taken, such as frequently disinfecting touched objects, washing your hands, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
December 31st: Health authorities in Wuhan, China began treating dozens of cases as researchers promptly identified the virus spreading throughout Asia. However, health officials in China were monitoring the severity of the disease, and “there was no evidence the disease was readily spread by humans” according to a report in the New York Times.
January 1st: The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that a seafood market in Wuhan, China was the focal point of the outbreak and was consequently closed.
January 5th: The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement that advised against implementing travel and economic bans on China, following the information provided.
January 9th: The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that 2019-nCoV (a temporary name for the virus) was the agent and informed the world about the genome sequence.
January 11th: The first known death was reported by Chinese officials. The 61-year-old man was found to have other medical complications. He was also a regular customer at the market in Wuhan, China where the virus is believed to be originated from.
January 20th: There were confirmed cases in countries other than China, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States of America. Airports around the world began implementing screening processes for people displaying symptoms. Health experts in China confirmed that human-to-human transmission was affirmative.
January 21st: The United States confirmed its first confirmed case; a man in his thirties developed symptoms after returning to Washington from Wuhan, China. As the number of patients in China continued to increase, the virus also infected Australia; a victim living in Brisbane tested positive for the disease after returning from Wuhan, China. National Institute of Health (NIH) Scientists in the United States began working on a vaccine.
January 22nd: The World Health Organization (WHO) officials met in Geneva to discuss the urgency for declaring the virus as an international emergency, but decided to delay the announcement. Central China’s Henan Province implemented a ban on the sale of live poultry as further precautions against the spread of the outbreak.
January 23rd: The Chinese authorities closed off the city of Wuhan, with 11 million inhabitants, by suspending transportation. Death rates and infection rates were increasing before the closing (17 deaths and 570 others infected).
January 24th: More countries imposed travel bans on more cities in China and introduced more screening procedures in airports. Chinese authorities initiated the construction on a new temporary hospital in the Wuhan district, aiming to complete it within six days; this new hospital would isolate infected patients.
January 30th: The World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern.”
January 31st: The Trump administration took action in order to protect American citizens by suspending entry from foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the past 14 days (with some exceptions).
February 2nd: The first death, a 44-year-old man from the Philippines, was reported outside of China.
February 5th: A Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. The passengers on the trip were then tested for the virus, and the number of people who tested positive became the largest group outside of China.
February 7th: Dr. Li Wen Liang, a Chinese doctor, attempted to warn the public about the danger that the virus could invoke. He was forced to sign a document stating his statements were just rumors. He passed away from the virus on February 7th, and his death caused anger and prompted criticism of the Chinese government’s handling of the situation.
February 11th: The death toll hit a new staggering number of 1,016, which was reported by Chinese officials. The number of infections was also mass growing, with a reported number of 42,638. The WHO announced the official name for the disease, COVID-19.
February 13th: Hubei Province, China added more than 14,840 new cases to the total infected. The number of diagnoses set a new daily record for the number of infections.
February 14th: The first coronavirus related death outside of Asia was reported in France. The 80-year old Chinese tourist, from Hubei Province, died at a hospital in Paris.
February 19th: This marked the first day of a three-day process to remove passengers who showed no sign of the virus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. 443 members began leaving, and 621 infected passengers remained on board the cruise ship. Iran also announced two Coronavirus cases, both patients died later that day. The source of the virus is unknown in Iran.
February 23rd: Italy saw a surge of coronavirus cases, signifying Europe’s first major outbreak, with more than 150 cases. Towns were on lock down, schools were closed, and cultural events were canceled (including many American college’s travel abroad programs).
February 24th: The Trump Administration began preparation for the virus to arrive in the United States. Congress was asked to allocate $1.25 billion to insulate America’s emergency funds. At this time, the United States had 0 deaths and 35 individuals infected. Attention shifted to other countries, primarily Iran, due to the steep incline of virus related deaths. Iran was second in terms of the highest death toll and became a second focal point regarding progression of the disease. Many coronavirus cases in other countries have been linked back to Iran.
February 26th: The first coronavirus case was reported in Latin America. After returning from a trip to Italy, the 61-year-old São Paulo man was diagnosed. News broke that there were new confirmed cases in Croatia, Romania, Italy, Pakistan, Norway, Georgia, North Macedonia, Greece, South Korea and Bahrain. According to the New York Times, the international death toll passed 2,750 and France, Iran, Japan, and Italy reported more deaths.
February 27th: A spike of cases occurred in South Korea, jumping to 2,022 according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United States’ 15th coronavirus patient was in serious condition. This news led top health officials in the United States to urge the public to prepare for the virus. However, President Donald Trump stated that he believes the coronavirus will eventually “disappear.” A Japanese woman from Osaka, Japan who had recently recovered from the virus tested positive for the second time.
February 28th: In Hong Kong, a dog tested positive with the virus, the first animal to contract the disease. The authorities released that although the animal has contracted the disease, it is a low-grade infection and the animal is not sick. As of now, there is no evidence that animals can spread the virus to others.
February 29th: The first death from the virus was reported in the United States. The patient diagnosed with the disease from Washington State passed away, and the Trump administration urged the public to remain calm despite this news.
March 1st: The second man in Washington state, United States died from the pandemic. A 39-year-old healthcare worker in Manhattan, New York tested positive for the virus after returning from Iran. More cases were released worldwide and the death toll continued to increase.
March 3rd: A second case in New York state, a Westchester County man, was confirmed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Consequently, two Jewish private schools have closed as a result of the outbreak. As the economy and stock market continue to drop, the Federal Reserve Board announced an emergency cut to the U.S. interest rate.
March 4th: Nine patients, all connected to the Westchester County man, tested positive in New York State; four of those patients included the man’s wife, son, daughter, and neighbor. A man in New Jersey, the first in the state, was hospitalized. The death toll and number of people infected in Washington state continued to increase. The House of Representatives reached a $8.3 billion bill to combat the public health threat. Meanwhile, a man in New Hampshire defied medical advice and socialized at a Dartmouth event, and his test results came back positive. Chinese scientists have also announced that the virus has mutated into two different strands.
March 5th: A 42-year-old Nassau County man was the first confirmed case on Long Island, New York. Many states have declared a state of emergency.
March 6th: The 2020 South by Southwest festival was cancelled as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of the virus. Florida’s governor requested $25 million in Coronavirus funding. 33 people tested positive and at least 4,000 people were under a “precautionary quarantine” in New York State. GOJO Industries ramped up the production of PURELL hand sanitizer products, following the increased demand for it during the pandemic. The World Health Organization warned governments that “this is not a drill” as infections neared 100,000 worldwide. A top U.S. health expert emphasized that “We’re going to need millions and millions and millions of tests.”
March 7th: The Italian Cabinet discussed a proposal to lockdown the northern region of Italy. There were 72 state and local public health labs doing coronavirus testing around the U.S. The Coronavirus quarantine hotel in China collapsed, trapping at least 70 people. As the number of confirmed cases continued to increase in New York and around the world, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency. Universities and colleges required students to return home and implemented online courses.
March 8th: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree stating the Lombardy region, as well as 14 other provinces, will undergo travel restrictions.
March 9th: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the official lockdown of Italy.
March 11th: President Trump halted travel from European countries (excluding the United Kingdom) for 30 days. Stock markets continued to plummet as the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus was officially a pandemic. The N.B.A suspended their season after a player tested positive for the virus. Actor Tom Hanks confirmed that he tested positive for the Coronavirus.
March 12th: The NHL announced that they will be suspending the 2020 season indefinitely in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The MLB also released a statement regarding their plans to suspend Spring Training as well as delay the 2020 regular season, as a safety precaution.
March 13th: President Trump announced a national emergency. He announced he was taking precautions to battle the increasing number of cases in the United States, including making $50 billion of federal funds available as well as expanding the options to treat patients remotely. President Trump also discussed the possibility of establishing drive-through testing sites available at several locations, following in the footsteps of South Korea. Jones Beach was listed as one of the possible testing locations. Oyster Bay High School announced that the school would be closed on Monday, March 16th, in preparation of long term school closure. Panic buying continued to sweep the nation, making toilet paper a hot commodity.
March 14th: White House physician Sean P. Conley released an official statement that President Trump tested negative for the virus. The Trump administration announced their plan to expand the European travel ban to the United Kingdom and Ireland as well, beginning on March 16th.
March 15th: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran declared that all public schools close for two weeks. As the number of cases and deaths continued to increase, health experts and government officials encouraged the public to practice social distancing; they recommended staying at home and avoiding large gatherings to prevent further spread to others and those who are more vulnerable to diseases. Rudy Gobert, player for the NBA Jazz, confirmed he had coronavirus. Shortly after, teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive.
March 16th: New Jersey imposed a statewide 8 pm curfew. More nations have implemented a mandatory shutdown. The Seattle mayor announced a plan to give $5 million in grocery vouchers to help families in need. The Los Angeles County Sheriff released inmates early due to Coronavirus concerns. In New York and many other states, it was mandated that restaurants and bars could only serve take-out or delivery; gyms, movie theaters, and casinos were also forced to close. U.S. airports sought $10 billion in government assistance. After cancelling the March 14th SAT exam, the College Board announced that the May test and March makeups were cancelled as well. President Trump warned that a potential recession may result from this pandemic. The White House recommended that people avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
March 17: Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order, extending the closing of schools through April 1st, 2020. More nations closed their borders and encouraged people to stop all travel. The White House considered an emergency measure to provide $1,000 a month for every worker during this crisis. Mayor Bill De Blasio warned New York City residents that they should prepare for a “shelter in place” order, requiring everyone to stay indoors unless necessary. The Brooklyn Nets confirmed that four players tested positive, including Kevin Durrant. As of this date, there are 4,226 cases and 75 deaths in the United States; there are 198,412 cases and 7,984 deaths across the world.