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Last updated May 25, 2020. 28 minute read

This is a timeline of events since COVID-19's discovery

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is caused by the virus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus originally infected animals and evolved to infect humans. Reports of this virus causing a new illness in humans first surfaced in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, at the end of 2019.

Self Written by Michael Martin
Reviewed by Dr. Tzvi Doron, DO

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause a range of respiratory illnesses. The common cold is sometimes caused by a coronavirus. But so are also more severe conditions, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and the novel coronavirus outbreak that is currently in the news.

The new illness, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is caused by the virus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus originally infected animals and evolved to infect humans. Reports of this virus causing a new illness in humans first surfaced in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, at the end of 2019. 

The symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and the disease can be fatal. But more than 80% of people with COVID-19 recover without complications or special medical treatment.

Timeline

May 22: Study: vaccine offers some protection against COVID-19
According to an early-stage trial published in the Lancet, a vaccine developed in China appears to be safe and may offer protection against the virus. The 108 study participants who were given the vaccine showed a moderate immune response to the virus, which peaked 28 days after the inoculation. 

May 21: Top expert urges Americans to go out during Memorial Day Weekend
“Memorial Day, it’s a very important holiday,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during CNN’s global coronavirus town hall program. “Hopefully, the sun will be out. We’ll be having people who want to get out there and get fresh air. You can do that. We’re not telling people to just lock in unless you’re in a situation where you have a major outbreak going on, we don’t have too much of that right now in the country.”

May 20: Model shows impact of delayed response to COVID-19 in US
According to estimates from Columbia University disease modelers, 36,000 fewer people would have died in the pandemic if the United States had begun imposing social-distancing measures one week earlier. The research showed that if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1—two weeks earlier than when most people started staying home—about 83% of deaths would have been prevented.

May 19: Spain’s daily death toll less than 100 for three days in a row
For the third consecutive day, COVID-19 deaths in Spain numbered less than 100, according to figures reported by the Spanish Health Ministry. In Spain, the death toll is more than 27,000. The most recent three daily death tolls are the lowest reported in more than two months in the country.

May 18: President Trump is taking hydroxychloroquine 
President Donald Trump reveals to reporters that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine for a “couple of weeks.” Hydroxychloroquine is an unproven treatment for COVID-19 that the president has been promoting to the public. The FDA has warned the drug can cause serious heart problems.

May 18: Mental health impact of COVID-19 assessed
According to a new review of studies, delirium, confusion, and agitation may be common in patients hospitalized with severe coronavirus infections. Researchers looked at 72 different studies on SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. They found that around a third of patients infected with SARS or MERS experienced post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD within about three years, while approximately 15% of patients were diagnosed with depression within about two years, and 15% were diagnosed with anxiety, one-year point after infection.

May 17: If Oxford University’s vaccine is successful, the UK will have first access
In a statement, the UK’s Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, says that the UK will have first access to Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine if it is proven to be safe and effective. Oxford University has signed a global licensing agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to deliver 100 million doses. The company will work to make up to 30 million of those doses available for the UK by September. 

May 16: FDA authorizes at-home testing kit
The US Food and Drug Administration announces that it has authorized “an at-home sample collection kit that can then be sent to specific laboratories for Covid-19 diagnostic testing.”

May 15: British research underlines people at higher risk of acquiring COVID-19
Research from the UK shows that older men, people who live in poor urban areas, those who are obese and who have chronic kidney disease, are more likely to catch COVID-19, in addition to being more likely to develop serious illness from it. “In our sample, we found increasing age, male sex, increasing deprivation, urban location, and black ethnicity were associated with increased odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test,” wrote Simon de Lusignan from the University of Oxford. 

May 14: Whistleblower warns that US faces “darkest winter.” 
Dr. Rick Bright—who was removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority last month—tells a congressional hearing that the United States could face “the darkest winter” of recent times if it does not improve its response to the pandemic. “What we do must be done carefully with guidance from the best scientific minds. Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged,” said Bright. 

May 13: German chancellor urges Germany to maintain its response to COVID-19
Angela Merkel asks Germans to resist complacency in the wake of the country much better than other European nations in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus within its borders. “Corona remains a danger for every one of us,” Merkel told the Bundestag.“It would be depressing if we have to return to restrictions that we want to leave behind us because we want too much too soon.”

May 12: Top experts warn against reopening economy prematurely in Senate hearing
One day after President Trump declared that “we have met the moment and we have prevailed,” infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, spoke of dire consequences should the US reopen the economy too soon. Both warned a Senate panel that the US still lacked critical testing capacity and the ability to trace the contacts of those infected.

May 11: Smart bracelets rolled out for Chinese students
Beijing is rolling out smart bracelets that can measure the body temperature of students returning to school, reports Chinese state media. The bracelets feature a sensor that can monitor students’ real-time body temperature and, if an abnormal temperature is detected, send out an alert.

May 10: Nearly 80,000 COVID-19 deaths reported in US
1,320,362 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed, and at least 79,180 people have died in the US, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. These numbers include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

May 9: Over 4 million COVID-19 cases diagnosed globally
According to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, more than 4 million people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus worldwide. However, due to testing shortages, unreported cases, and the possibility that some governments are downplaying the scope of the outbreak within their borders, the actual numbers are thought to be significantly higher.

May 9: 3 members of White House coronavirus task force in quarantine
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, have begun a “modified quarantine” after “low risk” contact. Fauci and Redfield join the head of the Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Hahn, who has already gone into quarantine.

May 8: President Trump tested daily
After a military official—identified as the President’s personal valet—was infected, Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be tested daily for the coronavirus, along with members of the White House staff. 

May 7: Over a quarter of million dead globally
According to Johns Hopkins, 264,111 people have died of COVID-19, with 3,772,367 confirmed cases. Total US cases are at 1,228, 609 with 73,341 deaths. 

May 6: President talks about shifting coronavirus task force’s focus
President Trump says that the White House’s coronavirus task force would shift its primary focus to reviving business and social life. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed China for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and demanded the nation share information about the outbreak.

May 5: US death toll projection skyrockets
An internal Trump administration document obtained by The New York Times projects that cases and deaths will rise in the next few weeks, with the death toll reaching 3,000 daily victims by June 1. This means that the US could now see 134,475 deaths by early August. That figure is almost double the prediction just last week of 74,000 deaths by a model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

May 4: Active COVID-19 cases dip below 100,000 in Italy 
For the first time since April 10, the number of active coronavirus cases in Italy has fallen below 100,000. The total number of people infected with coronavirus in Italy is now 99,980.

May 4: Evidence of COVID-19 arriving in France in mid-December claimed by doctors
Evidence has emerged that a patient who got sick in December was infected with the novel coronavirus, according to doctors at a Paris hospital. “Covid-19 was already spreading in France in late December 2019, a month before the official first cases in the country,” wrote the team at Groupe Hospitalier Paris Seine in Saint-Denis. As yet, the claim has not been independently verified. 

May 3: US death toll more than 66,000 
According to data presented by Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 1,134,058 cases of coronavirus in the US and roughly 66,430 deaths. 

May 3: Oxford professor offers timeline for reckoning vaccine’s efficacy 
Sir John Bell—Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University— said that researchers hope to generate enough data from Phase 2 trials to get evidence that their vaccine has efficacy by the beginning of June. Talking to NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” Bell said that chances of success in developing a vaccine are “pretty good,” adding “we are gradually reeling it in, bit by bit and as every day goes by, the likelihood of success goes up.”

May 1: Washington Governor extends stay-at-home order
Speaking at a press conference, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee says he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order until May 31. Inslee says that the new executive order “will continue a ban on public gatherings,” and that many businesses will have to remain closed. 

May 1: 1,000 officers to enforce social distancing on the warmest weekend of the spring so far
With temperatures forecasted to be in the 90s on Saturday and Sunday, the NYPD plans to have more than 1,000 police officers on foot, bikes, and in vehicles to enforce social distancing. The NYPD says that the officers will also educate the public about proper social distancing procedures, “so we can all help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep all New Yorkers safe and healthy.”

April 30: NYC subway service to be halted at night 
Beginning May 6, New York City’s subway system will close between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The nightly stoppage, announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, will allow crews to disinfect the cars each night to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus in the US city hardest hit by COVID-19 . Cuomo added that the city’s busses would also be cleaned at night.

April 30: Fauci expects FDA to issue emergency authorization for remdesivir to treat COVID-19
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says he expects the Food and Drug Administration to issue an emergency-use authorization for remdesivir soon to treat the novel coronavirus. During an appearance on the Today Show, Fauci said he believes that the maker of remdesivir—Gilead Sciences—is committed to making the treatment available “as much as they can, as quickly as they can.” 

April 28: Dog tests positive for COVID-19
Winston, a pug, belonging to a family in North Carolina, has tested positive for COVID-19. His owners—the McClean family—had taken part in a Duke University study about COVID-19 aimed at trying to find potential treatments and vaccines. “His [Winston’s] amount of virus that we detected was very low, suggesting that he would not be a likely mechanism or vector of transmission of virus to either other animals or to, to humans in these households,” said Chris Woods, the study’s principal investigator.

April 28: Mike Pence declines to wear mask at Mayo Clinic
Minnesota’s Mayo clinic requires all visitors to wear masks to avoid potentially spreading the novel coronavirus. Vice President Pence was told of the new rules before he visited. “Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today,” wrote the institution in a tweet that was later deleted.

April 27: WHO warns against complacency
“The pandemic is far from over,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a news conference. “This virus will not be defeated if we are not united; if we are not united, the virus will exploit the cracks between us and continue to create havoc. Lives will be lost.” 

April 26: Number of COVID-19 cases approaches 1 million
The US has over 963,000 recorded coronavirus cases and more than 55,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

April 25: Spike in calls to Illinois poison control in days after President Trump’s comments on disinfectant use in the human body
Speaking at a press conference, Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says that here has been a significant increase in calls to poison control in the state of Illinois in the last two days. “Injecting, ingesting, snorting household cleaners is dangerous. It is not advised and can be deadly,” warns Ezike.

April 24: “Global Vaccines Summit” announced 
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announces that the UK will host a “Global Vaccines Summit” on June 4 in an effort to encourage the international community to “come together” and support the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. “Diseases have no borders, so we must come together to make sure that Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance is fully funded and its expertise is at the heart of efforts to secure broad access to any COVID-19 vaccine,” Raab tweeted.

April 23: Trump’s idea for injecting people with disinfectant gets push back from makers of Lysol
“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” said President Trump in a news briefing. “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs?” On its website, the Reckitt Benckiser Group, which produces Lysol, states that “under no circumstance” should disinfectant be administered into the human body.

April 23: COVID-19 arrived in US in “early or mid-January.”
According to a new model by the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University in Boston, the first COVID-19 infections came from China to the US in early or mid-January. Along with two early deaths, the data appears to show that the virus went undetected due to many people not presenting symptoms.

April 22: Doctor reports that young adults with COVID-19 have had strokes due to blood clotting
Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, tells CNN that five individuals he and his colleagues treated for stroke were under the age of 50, and all had either mild symptoms of COVID-19 infection or were asymptomatic. “The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,” Oxley says. 

April 22: Two NY cats test positive for COVID-19
Two cats with mild respiratory symptoms are infected with the novel coronavirus, according to federal officials. “These are the first pets in the United States to test positive,” the US Department of Agriculture in a joint statement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

April 21: Confirmed COVID-19 cases top 2.5 million worldwide
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed COVID-19 is greater than 2.5 million, with the US accounting for more 788k of those cases, and over four million Americans tested. 

April 20: Two states plan to begin reopening this week 
Despite neither Georgia nor South Carolina meeting the White House recommendation of a 14-day downward trend in COVID-19 cases before lifting restrictions, the governors of both states have announced plans to open certain types of businesses this week. 

April 20: President Trump announces temporary halt to immigration via Twitter
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” he tweeted.

April 19: Mike Pence reports areas that are past their peak
At a press conference, Vice President Mike Pence tells reporters that New York metro area, including New Jersey, New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all appear to be past their peak adding that the Detroit metro area appears to be past its peak and is stable. “New Orleans metro area actually is the most stable of all areas where we had a major metropolitan outbreak,” said Pence. “The Denver metro area is stable.”

April 19: Trump compels company to make testing swabs 
President Trump announces that he will compel a US company—thought to be Maine-based Puritan Medical— to make swabs under the Defense Production Act. 

April 19: Over three-quarters of a million confirmed US cases, over 40,000 deaths 
According to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 map, there are at least 755,533 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 40,461 deaths. This total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories.

April 18: Social distancing improves projected US deaths
An influential research model lowers the projected number of coronavirus deaths in the US by 12% due to social distancing practices. The research model predicts some states may be able to begin easing restrictions as early as May 4.

April 17: Coronavirus death toll tops 35,400 in US
As some states announce timetables for easing curve-flattening restrictions, US coronavirus deaths top 35,400. More than 2,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths are reported for the fourth consecutive day. 

April 16: President Trump unveils guidelines to re-open US after lockdown
Guidelines to jumpstart the US economy—set forth in a White House press briefing—recommend that states record a 14-day “downward trajectory” in COVID-19 cases before beginning a three-phase process of re-opening.

April 16: China in first recorded quarterly decline
China’s economy shrank 6.8% in January-March from a year earlier. This is the first such decline since at least 1992 when the nation began quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) records.

April 16: Chinese COVID-19 cases at 2-week low 
China reports that new confirmed COVID-19 cases have fallen to a two-week low. According to its National Health Commission, China recorded 26 new cases of the coronavirus, down from 46 cases the day before. Of note: China does not include patients with no clinical symptoms such as a cough or a fever in its tally of confirmed cases.

April 14: Most US coronavirus deaths reported in a single day: 2,129
The total number of US coronavirus deaths reaches 25,757, with 2,129 on this day. There are now more than 605,000 cases of COVID-19 in the US The number of people tested so far in the US is 3,081,620.

April 14: American Medical Association calls US WHO funding freeze, dangerous
“During the worst public health crisis in a century, halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier,” says AMA President Dr. Patrice A. Harris in a statement. “Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data. Cutting funding to the WHO—rather than focusing on solutions—is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world.”

April 14: US halts funding to the World Health Organization
President Donald Trump announces that he is halting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) while a review is conducted. “Other nations and regions who followed WHO guidelines and kept their borders open to China, accelerated the pandemic around the world,” Trump said.

April 13: COVID-19 deaths reported in all 50 US states
With Wyoming’s first coronavirus fatality, there is now no US state without a confirmed coronavirus death. 

April 12: UK Prime Minister discharged from hospital
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is discharged from the hospital and says he owes his life to the National Health Service staff who treated him for COVID-19.”I can’t thank them enough,” Johnson says. “I owe them my life.”

April 11: South Korean CDC investigates possible COVID-19 reactivation
About 51 patients classed as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again, leading to some medical experts suggesting that the virus is reactivating. “While we are putting more weight on reactivation as the possible cause, we are conducting a comprehensive study on this,”  said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director-general of the Korean CDC. “There have been many cases when a patient during treatment will test negative one day and positive another.”

April 11: UK to warn obese people of being at greater risk of hospitalization
The UK government’s top scientific advisers discussed evidence that being overweight is a significant risk factor for those who contract COVID-19, according to a person familiar with the talks.

April 10: Worldwide death toll from COVID-19 passes 100,000
Globally, at least 102,669 people have died as a result of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. JSU also reports that 1,696,139 people have been infected while 376,200 have recovered.

April 10: The prospect of Americans carrying immunity credentials being discussed at White House. 
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that it’s possible that Americans may need to carry documents to prove they are immune or not infected with the coronavirus. “It’s one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure who the vulnerable people are and not,” says Fauci. “This is something that’s being discussed. I think it might actually have some merit.” Fauci added that within “a week or so,” new antibody tests will begin to be available, allow users to discover whether they possess an immune response to COVID-19. 

April 9: COVID-19 a threat to global peace and security says UN Secretary-General 
Antonio Guterres warns the UN Security Council the coronavirus pandemic is threatening international peace and security and could lead to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine efforts to fight the disease. 

April 9: US economy “could reopen in May” says US Secretary of the Treasury
Steven Mnuchin suggests that the American economy could start to reopen for business in May. This is despite experts’ emphasis on prolonged physical distancing measures to defeat the coronavirus. “Now is no time to back off,” Dr. Anthony Fauci tells CNN, adding that the virus will decide when the country can begin to reopen. 

April 8: US death projection drops
 The University of Washington’s model predicts that 60,000 Americans will die in the pandemic by August 4. This is down from a projection of nearly 82,000 just a day earlier, a drop of some 25%. The White House coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, said this drop is due to Americans drastically changing their behavior. 

April 8: UK Prime Minister’s condition improving 
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care at a London hospital, suffering from coronavirus. Johnson is “clinically stable and is responding to treatment,” his official spokesman said on Wednesday.

April 8: Scientists to White House: Coronavirus won’t go away with warmer weather
In a letter to the White House, members of a National Academy of Sciences committee wrote, “There is some evidence to suggest that (coronavirus) may transmit less efficiently in environments with higher ambient temperature and humidity; however, given the lack of host immunity globally, this reduction in transmission efficiency may not lead to a significant reduction in disease spread without the concomitant adoption of major public health interventions.”

April 7: US death toll continues to mount
The US records more than 1,200 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours. This brings the total number of US deaths to nearly 11,000.

April 6: Rate of new infections appears to level off in Western Europe
On April 6, the rate of new infections was no longer rising in Western Europe. The total number of patients continues to climb, however. 

April 6: British Prime Minister in intensive care
A day after being admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure, Boris Johnson is in an intensive care unit. 

April 5: British Prime Minister admitted to hospital 
After testing positive for COVID-19 on March 27, Boris Johnson is admitted to the hospital for further testing. “This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus,” said a Downing Street spokesperson. 

April 5: Queen Elizabeth II gives rare address 
In a televised address, Queen Elizabeth II addressed the nation in a televised speech in which she called for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.” Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” the Queen said. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.”

April 4: Dr. Deborah Birx warns hotspots will see a spike in deaths over the next week
“This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe, and that means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands,” said the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force.

April 3: CDC recommends Americans wear masks when outside
From the CDC website: “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.” The CDC also posted guidance on how to wear and make cloth face coverings. “It’s really going to be a voluntary thing,” said President Trump. “I’m not choosing to do it.”

April 3: Confirmed COVID-19 cases exceed 1 million
According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than a million cases of confirmed coronavirus infections globally. This figure represents a doubling since March 26. 

April 3: 1,169 people in the US die in a day 
The US has reported 1,169 deaths of people with coronavirus in 24 hours—the highest daily death toll of any country so far.

April 2: Jeff Bezos donates $100 million to US food banks
“Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately, COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly,” said Bezos on Instagram. “Millions of Americans are turning to food banks during this time.”

April 2: 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment in a week
This figure is more than double last week’s record-shattering figure of 3.28 million jobless claims from the previous week. With many applicants experiencing trouble filing a claim due to systems being strained, some economists estimate that the true number could be significantly higher. 

April 1: WHO concerned by “rapid escalation” of virus
“The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days we will reach 1 million confirmed cases, and 50,000 deaths,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuss told a virtual news conference at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

April 1: 2,381 Tri-state COVID-19 deaths reported
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that 391 people in New York State had died of the virus since Tuesday, bringing the state total to 1,941 and the total for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to 2,381. 

March 31: White House: 100,000 to 240,000 US deaths expected
During a White House press briefing, President Trump says experts predict 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die from the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials say the number could be lower if Americans change their behavior and follow social distancing guidelines.

March 30: US deaths pass 3,000
According to Johns Hopkins, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States is more than 163,000, with more than 3,000 deaths. 5,847 people have recovered.

March 30: Another outbreak likely this fall, Dr. Fauci says
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, predicts another outbreak of coronavirus is likely to hit this fall. “Things will be very, very different,” he says, adding that widespread testing and treatments will be available then. 

March 29: President Trump extends social distancing guidelines
In a White House press briefing, Trump, who had previously said he would like to reopen the country by Easter Sunday (April 12), said social distancing guidelines should stay in place until April 30.

March 28: US deaths pass 2,000
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States passes 121,000, with more than 2,000 deaths and 960 recovered.

March 28: Infant dies of COVID-19
An infant under the age of 1 dies in Illinois after testing positive for coronavirus, the youngest person believed to have died of the disease.

March 28: Trump says he may enact tri-state quarantine

President Trump says he is considering a temporary quarantine on parts of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, making residents unable to travel outside their borders. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tells CNN such a plan would be “chaos and mayhem” and “probably illegal.” 

March 27: $2 trillion US stimulus bill signed
President Trump signs a Congress-passed bill worth $2 trillion in coronavirus-related relief. It includes a $1,200 check to most Americans and an expansion of unemployment insurance.

March 26: US has most cases in the world
The New York Times reports that the United States now has more known cases of coronavirus than any other country.

March 26: US unemployment claims set record
More than 3.2 million people filed new unemployment claims in the United States last week, almost four times the previous record set during the recession of 2008.

March 25: Prince Charles has coronavirus
Prince Charles, the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, has tested positive for novel coronavirus, his office announces. He is experiencing mild symptoms and is self-isolating in Scotland.

March 25: Amazon workers affected
Workers in ten Amazon distribution centers have tested positive for coronavirus, CNN reports.

March 24: US cases top 53,000
As of tonight, the number of coronavirus cases in the US is 53,740, with 780 dead and 348 recovered.

March 24: California child dies of COVID-19

A person under the age of 18 died of coronavirus in Lancaster, California, the apparent first such death of a child in the US The CDC said last week that less than 1% of confirmed coronavirus cases involved people under the age of 19.

March 24: Olympics officially postponed

The International Olympic Committee announces that the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo will be postponed to a date “no later than summer 2021.”

March 23: US cases pass 43,000
As of this evening, there are 43,901 cases of coronavirus in the US, Johns Hopkins reports, with 557 deaths.

March 23: Trump wants to loosen restrictions
During a White House press briefing, President Trump says he wants to loosen lockdown measures to protect the US economy. “We can’t let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” he says.

March 23: UK shutdown begins
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a three-week lockdown of the UK. All non-essential shops are closed, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes to shop for essentials, seek medical care, and exercise once a day. Gatherings of more than two people are prohibited.

March 23: Virus’s effects expand in Congress
The Senate deadlocked on a stimulus bill for the third day. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her husband was hospitalized with coronavirus. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is in self-quarantine after possible contact with Sen. Rand Paul, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is quarantining after a possible earlier exposure.

March 22: First senator tests positive
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has tested positive for coronavirus, his office says on Twitter, adding that the senator is “asymptomatic” and “was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events.” On March 18, Paul voted against a stimulus package to provide free testing for COVID-19 and paid sick leave, calling it “wasteful spending.”

March 22: Cases in New York spike
New York reports 15,168 cases of coronavirus in the state, up by 4,812 in one day. That is about 5% of the total number of cases worldwide.

March 22: Olympics may be rescheduled
The International Olympic Committee said it would consider rescheduling the 2020 Olympics, slated to begin July 24 in Tokyo, but that cancellation was not an option being discussed.

March 21: 50% of tests in one NY hospital positive
CNN reports that New York—Presbyterian Hospital performed more than 500 tests for coronavirus today and 50% were positive.

March 21: Italy has record one-day death toll

Italy reports 793 deaths from COVID-19 in one day, nearly a 20% increase from the day before. In the country, 4,825 people have died from coronavirus, and at least 53,578 have contracted it.

March 20: Pence staffer tests positive
A staff member in Vice President Mike Pence’s office has tested positive for coronavirus, Pence’s spokesman said, adding that the staffer had not had close contact with Pence or President Trump.

March 20: More states say stay at home
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker joins New York and California in ordering residents to stay home except to obtain essential services. The governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, follows suit and issues a State of Emergency in that state.

March 19: China reports no new local infections
China, the country where the outbreak originated, reported zero new local infections for the previous day. China will have to go for 14 days with zero new local infections for the outbreak to be considered over.

March 19: California issues stay-at-home order
California Gov. Gavin Newsom orders California residents to stay at home, leaving only when necessary. The action, which took effect Thursday night, affects 40 million people. 

March 19: US cases exceed 13,000

NBC News reports that more than 13,330 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the US, with 199 deaths. 

March 19: State Dept. says don’t travel
The US State Department urges Americans not to travel abroad. It tells US citizens currently “in countries where commercial departure options remain available” to “arrange for immediate return to the United States unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

March 19: Nearly 40% of those hospitalized aren’t elderly
The New York Times reports CDC data that indicates almost 40% of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 are aged 20 to 54. This contradicts early reports that younger people were unlikely to be seriously affected.

March 18: The US has more than 9,000 cases
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States passes 9,000, according to Johns Hopkins.

March 18: Two congressmen test positive
Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ben McAdams (R-UT) are the first members of Congress to test positive for coronavirus.

March 18: Trump signs relief package
President Trump signs a coronavirus relief package that was passed by Congress. Its provisions include free testing, two-week paid sick leave for full-time employees, $1 billion in food aid, and $1 billion in unemployment assistance to states.

March 17: The US has more than 6,300 cases
According to Johns Hopkins, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US has topped 6,300, with more than 100 deaths. There are more than 1,000 cases in Washington State and more than 800 in New York State.

Italy, the European country hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, reports 345 deaths in the last 24 hours—an increase of 16%. The number of cases in Italy rises to 31,506, a 12.6% spike, but it is the slowest rate of increase since that country’s epidemic began on February 21.

March 17: Cases in China slow
Ten weeks after the COVID-19 outbreak first surfaced in Wuhan, the WHO reports that cases in China are declining. 

March 16: US cases pass 4,500 
The number of COVID-19 cases in the US is more than 4,600, with 82 dead. Worldwide, more than 181,000 cases are confirmed; more than 7,100 people have died.

March 16: Stock market crashes again

The US stock market drops nearly 3,000 points—13%, the worst day for stocks since Black Monday 1987. 

March 16: San Francisco orders residents to shelter in place

Six Bay Area counties order all residents to stay home for the next three weeks, leaving only to obtain “essential services” like food and medical care. This is the strictest lockdown measure yet in the United States, affecting 6.7 million people. The state of California urges all residents over 65 to stay home.

March 16: First vaccine trial begins

The first coronavirus vaccine trial starts in Seattle. But even if the trial is successful, a vaccine won’t be widely available for 12 to 18 months, says Dr. Anthony Fauci of the US National Institutes of Health. 

March 16: New York City shuts schools, bars, restaurants

The New York City public schools, the nation’s largest school system, are closed for at least a month. Nationwide, schools in 35 states have closed. Restaurants and bars are ordered to close; only food takeout and delivery is allowed.

March 15: US cases pass 3,000
The number of COVID-19 cases in the US is more than 3,200, with 62 dead. Worldwide, more than 162,000 cases have been confirmed, and the death toll is more than 6,000.

March 15: Ohio, Illinois, California close venues
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine orders all bars and restaurants in the state closed as of 9 pm Sunday. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker follows suit, requiring closures as of Monday night through March 30. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces that bars, nightclubs, breweries, and wineries in that state must close.

March 14: European travel ban extended

The Trump administration extends its ban on travel from European countries to the United Kingdom.

March 14: White House releases Trump test results

The White House says President Trump was tested for coronavirus, and the results were negative.

March 13: Number of US cases tops 2,100
The number of reported COVID-19 cases stands at more than 2,100 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 137,000 cases have been confirmed, with more than 5,000 deaths.

March 13: CDC projects up to 214 million Americans infected
According to documents obtained by the New York Times, the CDC estimated that between 160 million and 214 million people in the US could be infected over the course of the coronavirus epidemic—which could last for months to a year—and as many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die. The agency’s calculations found that 2.4 million to 21 million people could seek hospitalization, which would overtax the country’s 925,000 hospital beds. The CDC stipulated that behavioral changes like social distancing could lower that number.

March 13: Trump declares a national emergency
In an address from the White House rose garden, President Trump declares the coronavirus pandemic to be a national emergency. He says, “I don’t take responsibility” for consistently delayed testing by the CDC.

March 12: Canada’s First Lady tests positive
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. “Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon,” says Grégoire Trudeau in a statement.

March 12: Ohio estimates 100,000 infected
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton says that based on community spread, 1% of Ohio’s population is likely infected with COVID-19—about 100,000 people. The state has only five confirmed positive cases. Acton says the slow rollout of COVID-19 tests from the federal government is precluding a more accurate measurement of spread.

March 12: More pro sports suspensions
The National Hockey League suspends its season. Major League Baseball announces that spring training is suspended, and the season-opening will be delayed for at least two weeks.

March 12: Major cultural institutions close

The Met Museum, Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall in New York City announce they will close temporarily. Broadway shows are suspended until April 13. Disneyland and Disney World close through the end of the month. Performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. are canceled.

March 12: Trump’s address followed by stock market plunge

Following President Trump’s Oval Office address, the stock market drops 10%, the biggest one-day decline since Black Monday in 1987.

March 11: NBA suspends season
The National Basketball Association announces it will suspend its season after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

March 11: Tom Hanks tests positive

Actor Tom Hanks says that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for coronavirus. The couple is in Australia, where Hanks is co-starring in a film about Elvis Presley. Warner Bros. says a crew member on the production was diagnosed with coronavirus.

March 11: Trump announces European travel shutdown
In an Oval Office address, President Trump announces a 30-day ban on certain travel from parts of Europe. The United Kingdom is exempt.

March 11: Prediction on the potential number of US infected
Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, predicts that 70 million to 150 million people in the US will become infected with COVID-19, NBC News reports.

March 11: Italy lockdown expanded further

The Italian government orders the shutdown of all stores except supermarkets and pharmacies.

March 11: WHO designates pandemic
The World Health Organization announces that the spread of COVID-19 is officially a pandemic. A pandemic is a disease that is spreading worldwide.

March 10: Containment area ordered in upstate New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo orders a one-mile “containment area” in New Rochelle; schools are to be closed for two weeks, and large public gatherings canceled. The area surrounds a synagogue that is an epicenter of the state’s outbreak.

March 10: Coachella to be postponed
CNN reports that one of the world’s largest music events, originally scheduled for April in Indio, California, will be delayed until October.

March 9: Surgeon General says mostly elderly are seriously affected
During a White House press briefing, Surgeon General Jerome Adams says the people most likely to be hospitalized for coronavirus are older than 60, and the average age of death from coronavirus is 80. “There is something about being young that is protective,” he says. “We want people to be reassured by that.” He urges younger people to take precautions, including hand washing and covering sneezes and coughs, to avoid transmitting the virus to older people.

March 9: Italy expands lockdown
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte locks down travel throughout the entire country, affecting 16 million people. Public events are canceled. “Only journeys for urgent, verified professional reasons, or for emergency situations, or for health reasons, will be permitted,” Euronews reports. Shopping and going to bars and restaurants are still allowed, as long as customers observe a one-meter distance between themselves and others.

March 9: Lawmakers in self-quarantine
Five members of Congress have quarantined themselves after having contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, including Reps. Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz.

March 9: CDC says virus could spread into 2021
A CDC official tells reporters that coronavirus could spread into next year but that most people are not expected to have severe cases.

March 9: Scientists talk infectiousness
German scientists say that people infected with coronavirus emit high levels of the virus early in their infection, but people with mild cases are likely not contagious after 10 days.

March 9: Testing available in all 50 states, CDC says
The CDC says coronavirus test kits are available in all 50 states, in 78 state and local public health labs.

March 9: Cuomo says stay home if you can
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urges New Yorkers to work from home if possible and announces the launch of New York State branded hand sanitizer to address shortages and price gouging. He notes the sanitizer contains 75% alcohol, compared to Purell’s 70%, and “has a nice floral bouquet.”

March 8: Americans urged to skip cruises
The State Department advises that US citizens, especially those with medical conditions, should avoid cruise ships.

March 8: US cases top 500
The New York Times reports there are 533 cases of coronavirus in 33 states, with at least 21 deaths. 

March 8: Italy on lockdown
Italy locks down the entire Lombardy area (including Milan and Venice), limiting the movement of about one-quarter of the country’s citizens. The number of cases reported in Italy is second only to China. 

March 7: Cases reported in Pennsylvania
The governor of Pennsylvania announces that two presumptive cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state, bringing the total to four (two others were reported on March 6).

March 7: New York declares state of emergency
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declares a state of emergency and says the number of cases in the state has risen to 89; 70 of those cases are in Westchester County.

March 6: SXSW canceled
The 34th annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, is canceled because of coronavirus fears.

March 6: The US coronavirus death toll stands at 14, with 250 cases reported nationwide
The number of global cases passes 100,000 with more than 3,400 deaths.

March 6: Pennsylvania reports its first two cases.

March 5: Congress approves $8.5 billion in emergency funding to address coronavirus
It includes $2 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for prevention and response and more than $3 billion to develop vaccines, testing, and treatments. 

March 5: California declares state of emergency
California Gov. Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency after a California man died of coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which returned from a trip to Mexico last month. Health officials are looking for passengers to test them for the virus. 50 cases of coronavirus have been reported in 12 counties in the state.

March 5: Number of cases in New York rise to 22
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reports 11 more positive tests since the day before: 8 people in Westchester County, with mild or no symptoms; two people in New York City, both hospitalized; and a 42-year-old man hospitalized in Nassau County. 

March 5: School district temporarily shuts down
Citing concerns over coronavirus, Northshore School District in Washington State announces it will close schools for up to 14 days and offer cloud-based online classes.

March 4: Some companies urge working from home
Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft tell employees at their Seattle campuses to work from home if possible. One Facebook employee tested positive for the virus and was last in their Seattle office on Feb. 21.

March 3: Death toll rises in Italy
Italy announced the death toll in the country had reached 77.

March 3: New Jersey reports its first presumptive case
The patient is a man in his 30s who lives in Fort Lee and had some contact with one of the COVID-19 cases in New York.

March 2: COVID-19 at likely pandemic proportions
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells NBC News that coronavirus has “now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions.” 

But Fauci also says the mortality rate may decline as more cases are discovered: “I think 2.5% is probably a bit high…It’s dangerous to make firm kinds of predictions. I think it likely will be down around 1 percent, but I’m not sure.”

There are at least 91 cases of coronavirus in the United States. The death toll in Washington State rises to six. Six people who were on the Diamond Princess have died, most of them elderly.

March 1: WHO says most cases are mild
In an update on coronavirus, the World Health Organization says the most common symptoms are fever, shortness of breath, and dry cough, and that most people who are infected don’t become seriously ill. “Most patients (80%) experienced mild illness,” the WHO said. “Approximately 14% experienced severe disease & 5% were critically ill.”

March 1: First case reported in New York City
A 39-year-old healthcare worker who was traveling in Iran tested positive for coronavirus upon returning home to Manhattan. Officials say she had not taken public transportation and was treating herself at home. 

March 1: Scientists detail virus spread in the US
Coronavirus may have been spreading in Washington State for six weeks, health officials say.

March 1: First case reported in Rhode Island
Health officials say that a person in their 40s, who had traveled to Italy in mid-February, had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

February 29: First US death
The first US death due to coronavirus is a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions. He was a patient at Evergreen Health in Kirkland, Washington. 

February 14: First death in Europe reported in France
An 80-year-old Chinese tourist dies of coronavirus in a Paris hospital. He had arrived in Paris in mid-January and was hospitalized with quickly worsening symptoms.

February 10: Death toll surpasses SARS
In China, the death toll surpasses the 2002 SARS epidemic, with 811 deaths and 37,198 infections.

February 7: Chinese doctor/whistleblower dies
Li Wenliang, a doctor who was among the first to sound the alarm over coronavirus and was reprimanded by Chinese officials, dies of the illness.

February 5: Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined
More than 3,600 passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship are quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, after a two-week trip to Southeast Asia. Officials begin testing them for the virus. By February 13, 218 had tested positive. 

February 2: First death outside of China reported
A Chinese man from Wuhan dies in the Philippines, the first death outside mainland China.

January 30: WHO declares emergency
The World Health Organization declares that coronavirus is a global health emergency. The death toll in China reaches 170, with 7,711 cases reported in the country.

January 20: First US case reported
The first confirmed case in the US is a man in his 30s from Washington State. He had recently visited Wuhan. 

China reports a third death and more than 200 infections.

January 20: First cases outside China reported
The World Health Organization reports the first cases of coronavirus outside mainland China, in Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.

January 11: First death in China reported
Chinese officials report the first death from the virus, a 61-year-old man who had visited the seafood market. His symptoms did not respond to treatment, and he died of heart failure on January 9. 

January 7, 2020: Virus identified
Officials announce that they’ve identified a novel virus as the cause of the outbreak. It is named 2019-nCoV and was identified as belonging to the coronavirus family, which includes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome),  MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and the common cold. 

December 31, 2019: Outbreak originates
China alerts the World Health Organization (WHO) to a number of unusual cases of pneumonia in Wuhan. Several can be traced to workers at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which is closed on January 1.