December 31, 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) receives a report that there is a pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China.
January 11, 2020 – China reports its first death from the novel coronavirus outbreak, a 61-year old man who visited a live animal market in Wuhan.
January 21, 2020 – A man in his 30’s from Washington state who travelled to Wuhan, China becomes the first person to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in the United States. Cases have also been confirmed in other countries outside of mainland China such as Japan, South Korea and Thailand.
January 23, 2020 – China locks down Wuhan in an aggressive effort to contain the virus.
January 30, 2020 – WHO declares the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
January 31, 2020 – The United States restricts travel from China.
February 2, 2020 – A 44- year old man in the Philippines becomes the first person to die from the virus outside of mainland China.
February 5, 2020 – The Diamond Princess cruise ship is quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan with 3,600 passengers.
February 7, 2020 – Dr. Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor who alerted the press and raised concerns about this emerging epidemic and was reprimanded by the Chinese authorities, dies of the novel coronavirus.
February 11, 2020 – WHO announces the name for the new coronavirus disease as COVID-19.
February 26, 2020 – A patient in California with no travel history to an outbreak area tests positive for COVID-19. This person is the first suspected case of local transmission within the United States.
February 29, 2020 – The first COVID-19 death in the United States was reported in Washington State. However, it was determined postmortem, that two deaths that occurred on February 26 and one on February 28 were also attributed to COVID-19.
March 3, 2020 – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance that allowed for everyone to be tested for the virus without restriction.
March 11, 2020 – WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. According to the CDC, “A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.”
March 13, 2020 – The President of the United States declared COVID-19 a U.S. National Emergency, opening up $50 billion of federal funding to fight the outbreak.
March 16, 2020 – The White House announced the program, “15 Days to Slow the Spread.” According to the CDC, this is “a nationwide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the implementation of social distancing at all levels of society.”
March 19, 2020 – China reports no new local infections.
March 29, 2020 – The WHO’s Situation Report confirmed 634,835 new cases globally; 29,891 deaths, and a risk assessment at the global level as “Very High.”