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December 31: China reported the discovery of the coronavirus to the World Health Organization (WHO).

January 1: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began developing coronavirus situation reports and sharing them with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

January 3: CDC Director Robert Redfield contacted George Gao, the director of the Chinese CDC, and formally offered to send U.S. experts to China to assist in coronavirus investigation.

January 3: Director Redfield spoke with HHS Secretary Azar, and HHS notified the National Security Council (NSC).

January 4: Director Redfield sent another email to George Gao, once again offering assistance.

January 6: A formal letter to the Chinese CDC by Director Redfield is sent at the request of Secretary Azar.

January 6: A Level 1 Travel Watch for Wuhan, China is issued by the CDC.

January 6: Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), started doing interviews discussing the coronavirus outbreak.

January 6: The U.S. Senate returned from winter break.

January 7: The CDC established a Coronavirus Incident Management system in preparation for potential cases in the United States and to provide support for other countries upon request.

January 7: The House of Representatives returned from winter break.

January 8: The CDC issued an advisory via the Health Alert Network reporting that it was “closely monitoring a reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology (PUE) with possible epidemiologic links to a large wholesale fish and live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China,” and informed state and local health departments and health care providers about the outbreak.

January 9: The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began collaborating on a diagnostic test.

January 10: China shared the viral sequence of the coronavirus. NIH scientists began work on a vaccine.

January 11: The first known coronavirus death was reported by Chinese state media.

January 13: There are now 41 confirmed cases in China. The first case outside of China is confirmed in Thailand.

January 13: A pharmaceutical manufacturer is given the viral sequence by NIH.

January 14: The World Health Organization claimed “there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission,” and that “no additional cases have been detected since 3 January 2020 in China.”

January 14: The NSC began holding daily Novel Coronavirus Policy Coordination Council meetings.

January 15: The House of Representatives voted to send articles of impeachment to the Senate. Pelosi and House Democrats celebrated with a signing ceremony featuring commemorative pens.

January 16: The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump officially began.

January 17: Enhanced screening of travelers from Wuhan at three airports is initiated. The following week two more airports added, increasing coverage to 75–80 percent of travel from Wuhan, China.

January 17: The CDC hosted its first telebriefing on the virus. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), described the coronavirus as “a serious situation” and said it’s “crucial to be proactive and prepared.”

January 17: The CDC posted interim coronavirus guidance for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens, and biosafety guidelines for laboratories. This guidance would be updated regularly over the course of the pandemic.

January 18: The CDC published interim guidance on how to care for in-home coronavirus patients not requiring hospitalization.

January 20: After previous denials, China confirms that the coronavirus can be transmitted human-to-human.

January 20: Dr. Fauci announced the National Institutes of Health was already working on a coronavirus vaccine.

January 20: The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the United States is reported to the World Health Organization.

January 21: The first case of the coronavirus is confirmed in Washington state. The patient had been at Wuhan, China.

January 21: The CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to support the coronavirus response.

January 21: The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, began market research calls with top diagnostics companies about developing diagnostics for the coronavirus.

January 21: In the second CDC telebriefing on the coronavirus, NCIRD director Dr. Messonnier said the CDC was “proactively preparing for an introduction of the virus here” and reported that a CDC team had been deployed to Washington state.

January 21: The CDC published interim guidance on preventing the spread of the coronavirus in homes and other places.

January 22: CDC Director Redfield wrote in a memorandum that it was determined that the coronavirus could become an infectious disease emergency very quickly. The memorandum was signed by HHS Secretary Azar, allowing HHS to request access from the Office of Management and Budget to $105 million in the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund.

January 22: For the first time, an authorization application template is shared by the FDA with a diagnostic test developer.

January 22: An interagency diagnostics working group is set up by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), which includes, BARDA, CDC, FDA, NIH, and the Department of Defense (DOD).

January 22: Children referred from China are now screened by the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement. Children potentially exposed to the coronavirus are quarantined for up to 14 days before placement in shelters.

January 22: The rules of the impeachment are approved by the Senate. Impeachment managers began their 3 days of opening arguments.

January 23: The CDC sought a “special emergency authorization” from the FDA to allow states to use their coronavirus test.

January 23: China closed off the city of Wuhan.

January 23: ASPR convened a Disaster Leadership Group (DLG) to coordinate strategies and countermeasures government-wide. The Trump administration began discussions with manufacturers of N95 masks to more than double usual production.

January 24: Impeachment managers concluded their opening arguments on both articles of impeachment.

January 24: Three government-wide task forces are formed by ASPR: (1) healthcare system capacity and resilience, development of medical countermeasures, and (3) supply chains.

January 24: The second confirmed U.S. case of the coronavirus is confirmed in Illinois by the CDC.

January 24: Dr. Messonnier reports during the third CDC-hosted telebriefing that more cases of the coronavirus are expected in the United States via travel and human-to-human transmission.

January 24: The CDC’s assay for the coronavirus is shared publicly. This design can now be used by the global community to develop their own assays.

January 25: President Trump’s legal defense began opening arguments in the impeachment trial.

January 25: Secretary Azar notified Congress of his intention to use $105 million from the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund.

January 26: There are now five confirmed cases in the United States.

January 26: ASPR’s three task forces hold their first meetings.

January 27: Secretary Azar discussed the coronavirus situation with China’s Minister of Health and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros.

January 27: Secretary Azar reported in a speech in Washington, D.C. that the Department of Health and Human Services was “proactively preparing for the arrival of the novel coronavirus on our shores,” and that it posed a “serious public health threat.”

January 27: Dr. Messonnier warned new travel recommendations were imminent and that the public health response may cause “some disruptions” in Americans’ lives during the CDC-hosted telebriefing.

January 27: The CDC issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice warning Americans to avoid nonessential travel to China.

January 27: Developers of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other countermeasures for the coronavirus started receiving updates on the processes for approval and authorization.

January 27: Jay Butler, the CDC’s Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, held a conference call with the nation’s governors about the coronavirus.

January 27: The White House Coronavirus Task Force holds its first meeting.

January 28: During an HHS press briefing with Dr. Fauci, Director Redfield, and Dr. Messonnier, Secretary Azar warned that “Americans should know that this is a potentially very serious public health threat.”

January 28: The CDC posted interim coronavirus guidance for airline crews. This guidance would be updated regularly over the course of the pandemic.

January 28: President Trump’s legal defense team completed their opening arguments.

January 29: The White House publicly announced the formation of the Coronavirus Task Force. Trump chaired a meeting of the task force for the first time.

January 29: Dr. Messonier reported in the CDC-hosted telebriefing that no new cases of the coronavirus had been found in the United States, “despite an aggressive public health investigation.

January 29: The CDC posted recommendations for controlling and preventing coronavirus infection in healthcare settings.

January 29: The Chinese government acknowledged the offer of assistance of U.S. experts by HHS.

January 29: A listening session hosted by ASPR, CDC, FDA, NIAID, and DOD is held with 1,468 industry representatives to discuss the development of medical countermeasures, health system preparedness, supply resilience, and medical surge needs.

January 29: Repatriation of Americans from China began.

January 29: U.S. senators began two-days of questioning in the impeachment trial.

January 30: The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency.

January 30: The CDC confirmed the first case of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus in the United States.

January 30: The State Department issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel Health Advisory for all of China. The CDC issued their own warning, warning travelers to “avoid all nonessential travel to China.”

January 30: The Trump Administration hosted a conference call with the nation’s governors, Secretary Azar, Director Redfield, Dr. Fauci, and others. The Administration’s action plan for responding to the coronavirus outbreak is presented.

January 30: Budget officials in the Trump administration began discussions on funding medical necessities for the outbreak, including medical supplies and equipment, supplying the Strategic National Stockpile and aid for states.

January 30: A coronavirus portal is launched by ASPR to facilitate requests from private industry interested in developing and/or manufacturing medical countermeasures.

January 31: The Trump administration declared the coronavirus a Public Health Emergency.

January 31: President Trump restricts travel with China, effective February 2.

January 31: Former Vice President Joe Biden calls Trump’s travel ban “hysterical xenophobia” and “fear-mongering.”

January 31: Dr. Messonnier discussed reports of asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus during a CDC-hosted telebriefing. “We are preparing as if this were the next pandemic,” she said.

January 31: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began funnelling all flights from China to just seven airports for enhanced screening.

January 31: The emergency use authorization application process is discussed during a virtual meeting between the FDA and the American Clinical Laboratory Association.

January 31: The Senate voted 51-49 against more witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial.

February 2: The first death outside China is reported, coming from the Philippines.

February 2: Enhanced entry screening by the CDC is expanded to eight major airports.

February 3: A CDC team is ready but waiting for permission from the Chinese government to enter the country.

February 3: Closing arguments in the Senate trial of President Trump are made.

February 4: The FDA is directed to step up coronavirus diagnostic testing procedures by the White House

February 4: President Trump delivered his State of the Union Address. During the speech he vowed to “take all necessary steps” to protect Americans from the coronavirus. Nancy Pelosi ripped up the speech.

February 5: In a public statement, the CDC reported they believed the immediate risk of coronavirus exposure in the United States was low, and that they were “undertaking measures to help keep that risk low.”

February 5: President Trump is acquitted on both articles of impeachment.

February 5: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia began hearings on the coronavirus.

February 6: The CDC began shipping CDC-Developed coronavirus test kits to domestic and international labs.

February 9: Governors are briefed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefed at the National Governors’ Association Meeting in Washington.

February 11: ASPR expanded their partnership with Janssen Research & Development to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

February 12: The United States shipped coronavirus testing kits to roughly 30 countries.

February 12: The CDC was still waiting for permission from the Chinese government to travel to China.

February 14: Dr. Messonnier reported that the CDC began working with five public health labs to conduct “community-based influenza surveillance” to monitor the spread of the coronavirus and conduct tests.

February 17: Dr. Fauci said that the risk of coronavirus infection in the United States is “minuscule.”

February 18: HHS announced it had engaged with the vaccines division of the multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi to quickly develop treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus.

February 18: Airlines are now required by the CDC to collect information on passengers who came from or were in China within 14 days of their attempt to enter the United States.

February 20: 77,000 cases are confirmed worldwide, according to the W.H.O.

February 22: International experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Wuhan, China.

February 24: The Trump Administration requested at least $2.5 billion from Congress for combatting the coronavirus.

February 24: Nancy Pelosi toured San Francisco’s Chinatown to quell fears about the coronavirus.

February 25: Secretary Azar discussed the Trump administration’s coronavirus response in testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

February 29: The first known death from the coronavirus was recorded in the United States.

February 29: The Trump administration rolled-back Obama-era regulations in order to speed up coronavirus testing.

February 29: The Trump administration suspended travel with Iran, banned foreign citizens who visited Iran in the previous two weeks from entering the United States, and announced a Level 4 Travel Advisory to Italy and South Korea.

March 2: President Trump met with top pharmaceutical companies to coordinate plans to efficiently develop treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus.

March 3: Federal restrictions on coronavirus testing were lifted, allowing any American to be tested for coronavirus upon doctor’s orders.

March 4: Approximately 500 million N95 respirators are purchased by the Trump administration over the next 18 months.

March 4: $35 million was to the CDC to help state and local communities most impacted most by the coronavirus.

March 6: President Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding package to fight the coronavirus.

March 9: President Trump proposed a payroll tax cut to help workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

March 10: Top health insurance companies committed to waiving co-pays for coronavirus testing after a meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence.

March 11: The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic.

March 11: President Trump announced that travel from Europe will be restricted.

March 11: President Trump directed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to give low-interest loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and asked congress to increase the SBA lending fund by $50 billion.

March 11: President Trump instructed the Treasury Department to defer tax payments for individuals and businesses impacted by the coronavirus for three months without interest or penalty.

March 13: President Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency, providing access to $42 billion in funds to combat the coronavirus.

March 13: President Trump announced plans to partner with the private sector to set-up drive-through coronavirus testing sites.

March 13: President Trump announced that interest on federal student loans would be waived during the pandemic.

March 13: President Trump directed the Department of Energy to buy oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

March 13: The FDA gave emergency approval to Roche AG and Thermo Fisher for their coronavirus tests.

March 13: HHS announced it was funding the development of two new rapid diagnostic tests.

Sources for this timeline include The FederalistBreitbartthe Trump campaignPolitiFactWikipediaThe New York TimesNBC News, and Fox News.


You can get a lot further in life with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone.

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