This is how coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease CoViD-19 spread across the world. From their earliest days in China to everywhere now, it’s a scary timeline.
October – Critical Microbiology Review warns of, “The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic animals in Southern China, is a time bomb.”
November17 – verifying information from China is difficult but it was retrospectively reported that a 55-year-old man contracted the disease this day, and showed symptoms on 1 December 2019. He had no connection to the now infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
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December 2 – A 51-year-old Dongguan doctor was hospitalised on 2 December 2019 for pneumonia caused by unknown origin.
December 12 – Several reports state that this was the day the Wuhan viral outbreak was realised by the Chinese government. Within 2 weeks, case studies would identify 6 people associated with its Huanan Market. Wuhan is a city with 11 million residents.
December 25 – Wuhan healthworkers allegedly infected.
December 27 – Sequencing shows similarity to SARS. Two days later, a different patient wrongfully diagnosed with SARS but this drew more attention from Government who was quick to disinfect, thinking they could stop the spread early.
December 30 – The Wuhan Municipal Health Committee issues an “urgent notice on the appropriate treatment to patients with pneumonia of unknown cause”. The following day, they notified the World Health organisation. Contrary to President Donald Trump pointing fingers at China for him being asleep at the wheel, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan immediately established restrictions on human traffic.
January 1 – Huanan Seafood Market closed by Government. The same day, the Director of the USA’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) informed. Two days later, the Health Secretary knew too.
January 3 – Chinese scientists at the National Institute of Viral Disease Control and Prevention (IVDC) labelled the virus as ‘2019-nCoV’, identifying 3 variations. However, they only made this public 4 days later. The Chinese Government was meanwhile censoring those on the internet who were speaking about the “Wuhan SARS virus”.
January 7 – Further proof of the USA’s awareness was the CDC issuing a warning to travellers to Wuhan. Several scientists worldwide now know the sequence of the newest coronavirus.
January 9 – The first acknowledged death from ‘2019-nCoV’ was a 61-year-old male customer of the Market. the same day, the European Centre for Disease Prevention posted a risk assessment i.e. proof Europe aware too.
January 10 – Several Chinese scientists posted the gene sequencing on reputable websites.
January 11 – Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist who became known as the coronavirus whistleblower, ironically had his first symptoms. Like others, he would first test negative several times. He died 28 days later.
January 13 – The USA’s CDC posts the genome on GenBank. Thailand registers the first case outside of China, a female resident of Wuhan who’d been in Thailand for 5 days.
January 14 – World becomes aware that a married couple in Wuhan were both infected, making human-to-human transmission likely. WHO cited other examples but never considered the transmission to be sustainable.
January 15 – An American from Washington who’d travelled to Wuhan became the first confirmed case on US soil. The US Embassy in China issues a Health Alert.
January 16 – Japan has its first case. The German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) develops a method to test suspected cases more quickly.
January 18 – 40,000 families attend Chinese New Year celebrations hosted by the Wuhan City Government. This was possibly the cause of a surge in cases.
January 19 – China has a third death. Worldwide, more than 100,000 will die over next 3 months.
January 20 – South Korea has first case. The Chinese Government confirms human-to-human transmission. Confirmed that Wuhan virus has mutated into different strains. At this stage, there were only 218 laboratory-confirmed cases – we’re now over 1.7-million (April 11 2020),
January 21 – Chinese State Media warns local governments against cover-up. This was emphasised by the the Central Political and Legal Commission of the Communist Party. 15 health workers in Wuhan reported infected, official acknowledgement of a serious problem the whole world would soon face.
January 22 – North Korea closes its borders.
January 23 – At 10am, the greater Wuhan area placed under quarantine. Internally, public transportation suspended. US Embassy in China raises Health Alert to Level 2.
January 24 – Wuhan, as the origin of the virus, is in doubt after The Lancet medical journal states that 13 of the initial 41 cases had no link with the “wet market”. Hong Kong, Nepal, Vietnam, Canada, Australia and France confirm cases. The biggest warning sign so far is when Chinese researchers find that carriers can be asymptomatic. Hubei province, within which Wuhan falls, is quarantined.
January 25 – Disneyland in Hong Kong is closed.
January 26 – China bans wildlife trade.
January 27 – AN IMPORTANT DAY THAT SHOULD HAVE DRAWN GLOBAL ATTENTION. Gabriel Leung, Dean of the University of Hong Kong medical school and one of the foremost world experts on SARS and viruses, went on YouTube to predict that current infections were likely 10x higher. He demanded widespread measures to slow the virus but ominously said that at the peak in May, there could be up to 100,000 infections daily. Mongolia closed its border with China. Mexico stopped flights from China.
January 28 – China’s Supreme People’s Court vindicates whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang and the 7 other doctors, saying that they should not be punished. The Doherty Institute in Melbourne successfully grows 2019-nCoV from a sample.
January 29 – The UAE confirms its first case and Brazil suspects several. This is notable considering the allegations, months later, that the Middle East, South America and Africa are underreproting or not doing enough to protect their citizens. It’s the beginning of the spiral for airlines as Air Canada stops direct flights to China. Peter Navarro, a trade advisor for Trump, issued a memo warning that the coronavirus could become a pandemic “imperiling the lives of millions of Americans”.
January 30 – WHO declared the virus was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Italy’s Prime Minister confirms his country’s first two cases and closes air traffic with China.
January 31 – Russia and the UK confirm their first infections. Italy becomes first EU country to declare a State of Emergency.
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February 1 – EU’s total, only 24 infected. China’s exceeds 10,000. The infected on the Diamond Princess, the passenger liner quarantined by Japan, begin to be counted.
February 2 – Only 7 days after a mask factory was proposed in Beijing, it begins production of millions of masks.
February 3 – The Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange plummet, by 7.72% and 8.45% respectively. Over 2 days, The People’s Bank of China adds $241 billion of liquidity into the country’s financial system. Qatar Airways suspended flights to mainland China. Other airlines followed their lead.
February 4 – The slowdown in production and sales in China is symbolically highlighted as Hyundai partly shuts down its factories, and Nike closes half its stores.
February 5 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commits $100-million towards coronavirus detection, isolation, and treatment research. Hundreds of Americans evacuated by air from Wuhan.
February 6 – shoppers panic buy in Hong Kong, starting a worldwide trend.
February 7 – Covid-19 death of whistleblower, Li Wenliang.
February 9 – China mainland’s infections flood to 40,213. Death toll 811, exceeding the 2002 SARS epidemic. Asian markets dive.
February 10 – Diamond Princess’s infections increase to 135.
February 11 – Fox News sinks to a new low, suggesting that covid-19 is a Chinese biological weapon aimed at the the USA diplomats in the White House and at Davos. Shenzhen University announces a coronavirus antibody detection kit that provides a result in 22 minutes. WHO expects a vaccine too be ready in 18 months. In Vietnam, a 3-month-old baby is infected by its grandmother. Without China driving the world economy, oil prices slump.
February 13 – In the Chinese province of Hubei, 1.3-million masks are put into the market at the price of only 29 US cents.
February 14 – Holiday bookings plummet globally. China now has a test kit that can detect coronavirus within 15 minutes.
February 19 – Diamond Princess’s infections increase to 621. Some passengers disembark whilst controversy rages over whether the quarantine enforced by Japan was the correct thing to do. Most likely, it increased infections. 2 people die the following day.
February 20 – Fear and xenophobia find a mob attacking the police protecting buses of evacuees from China.
February 21 – First death in Italy, the beginning of the horror to come.
February 22 – Holidaying South Koreans feared to have spread the virus in Israel. Back in South Korea, infections at 433.
February 23 – Brazil confirms its first case. Italy puts 50,000 people into lockdown.
February 24 – With only 61 confirmed cases in Iran but 4 dead, Iran is assumed to be understating their problem. Italy’s challenge now lies across 6 regions.
February 25 – News reports escalate dramatically.
February 26 – Traveller takes coronavirus from Iran to China, a first case of import to China, reminding that the coronavirus can come in waves.
February 27 – 4 high-ranking Iranian politicians infected. It’s been a week of many high profile sporting events being postponed or cancelled.
February 28 – WHO hoists coronavirus alert to highest level.
February 29 – first death in the USA. Satellite photos emphasis China’s slowdown as air pollution has radically decreased. An Iranian MP, Mohammad Ali Ramazani, dies.
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March 1 – Armenia’s first confirmed case. 23 members of Iran’s Parliament test positive, another fact suggesting that coronavirus figures are worse than they’ve been reported as.
March 3 – Spain announces that the first death in their country likely happened on 13 February.
March 4 – Diamond Princess now with 706 cases. Italy’s deaths at 148.
March 5 – South Africa records its first case in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Traveller and friends returned from Italy through Durban’s main airport. New York’s cases double overnight, to 22.
March 6 – China’s infections 80,552, fatalities 3,042. Germany’s infections climb to 639 whilst the Netherlands has its first death.
March 8 – Despite warnings, The LA Marathon went ahead with 25,500 runners and a larger crowd.
March 11 – WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. 354 dead in Iran, 9,000 infected. The French Island of Réunion confirms its first case. After two players diagnosed, the NBA suspends the season. In the UK, Arsenal’s coach tests positive.
March 12 – This blogger goes into isolation to ensure I haven’t infected anyone.
March 15 – Italy records 368 deaths in one day. Pandemic now in full swing.
March 19 – All eyes on Italy’s nightmare. 5,322 infections in one day increase its sum to 41,035. With 3,405 dead, they surpass China’s official figure.
March 22 – The UK’s deaths rise to 281, the USA’s to 431.
March 26 – 175 deaths in Iran in one day, death toll 2,234. Spain reluctantly chases Italy, its deaths at 4,000.
March 27 – South Africa records its first death, President Ramaphosa declaring a 3-week shutdown. Soldiers patrol some streets. Italy registers worst global one day toll with with 919 deaths. That’s a total of 9,134 dead. The USA passes 100,000 cases, overtaking China by more than 20% – the US’s Patient Zero may have been diagnosed 3 months before.
March 28 – Italy’s 10,000 deaths shock the world. The UK’s deaths pass 1000 whilst neighbouring Ireland’s are at 36. Moody’s downgrades South Africa into junk – over next 2 weeks, Rand slides to historical low. An old-age home in Durban reports 2 residents infected – this will become the St Augustine’s Hospital crisis.
March 30 – Infections in the The Middle East continue to climb – Israel 628, Palestine 115, Iran 2,757. With 1000 dead, New York State, in the USA, increasingly attracts media attention. 9-month-old baby dies in Chicago, USA. 17 family members in the UK get infected at a funeral. In South Africa, the Rupert and Oppenheimer families each extend R1-billion credit to businesses, and the Motsepe family donates R1-billion. The three easily outscore the South African Government which had only put forward R150-million.
March 31 – The start of a huge controversy in the USA as the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with 100 infections at that time, pleads for assistance. H’s relieved of command.
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April 1 – April fools jokes die, replaced with harsh reality. Most significant death totals belong to Italy (13,155), Spain (9387), USA (4,076), France (4,023), Iran (3,036) and the UK (2,352). Germany’s healthcare system proven one of the best – early testing has saved many lives – only 732 dead from 67,366 infections. The Trump administration begins a marketing campaign to cover-up up its mistakes, saying that only 100,000 to 140,000 will die because their safety measures will save millions. A 6-week-old baby dies in Connecticut, USA. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq drop -4.4%. The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference is postponed by a year. For the first time since WW2, Wimbledon tennis and Champions League soccer are cancelled. In Durban, South Africa, a teacher dies and at least one pupil is infected in her school. In Hong Kong, a pet cat tests positive for coronavirus.
April 2 – 1-million confirmed infections and 50,000 dead worldwide. In the preceding week, 6.7 million US citizens applied for unemployment benefits. Approximately one million Spaniard lost their jobs in one month. Belgium and Switzerland have become hotspots, respectively with 1,001 and 432 dead. Spain’s passes 10,000 dead. Russia is remarkably only at 30, most in Moscow. 23 asylum seekers in Greece tested positive for the coronavirus. Portugal extended its State of Emergency to 17 April. Romania showed appreciation for its healthworkers by promising them a €500p/m bonus. Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, continued to downplay the coronavirus.
April 3 – In France, Rungis fresh food market’s refrigerated warehouse will now host 1,000 corpses. Spain has 10,000 dead. France hasn’t finished testing but reports 1,416 deaths in old-age homes. The following day, it adds 884. These sobering statistics demands responsible countries make a similar, retrospective check. The UK showed Chinese spirit by building a temporary hospital with 4,000 beds in in only 9 days. The IMF claims to have a $1-trillion war chest for fighting the economic effects of the virus.
April 4 – New York State has more fatalities than Iran. Spain extends lockdown until 25 April. The shutdown of St Augustines Hospital in Durban begins after 4 deaths and 11 staff test positive.
April 5 – As example of how hospitals in hot countries are struggling, France has 28,891 in-patients. Japan threatens to become problematic as infections in Tokyo surpass 1,000. South Korea, as one of the first infected countries, has set a shining example to the world. Of its 10,284 infections, only 136 have died. Turkey seems determined to head in the opposite direction. Refusal to install rules to protect its people, it’s cases rise to 27,069 with 574 dead. It’s another country under suspicion for under-counting. With his coronavirus symptoms worsening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital. Libya’s former Prime Minister, Mahmoud Jibril, dies. 2 newly wed couples are arrested for breaking the lockdown in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
April 6 – In 4 days, world infection rates have increased by 20% to 1.2-million. 15,000 more are dead. Romania extends state of emergency until 5 May. New York State Governor extends theirs until April 29. At the Bronx Zoo in New York, a tiger tests positive for covid-19.
April 7 – In only 6 days, the USA’s dead have gone from 4,076 to 10,000. Globally, another 100,000 confirmed infections added the past 24hrs. The infections at St Augustines Hospital in Durban becomes a crisis – 48 staff and 18 patients test positive, and that’s with only a quarter of the results back.
April 8 – For the first time in almost 4 months, China reports no new coronavirus deaths. The majority of infections are found in those quarantined as they return from overseas. France reaches 10,000 fatalities, with 3,237 in old-age homes. After 10 weeks, the lockdown on Wuhan is lifted. President Donald Trump criticises the World Health Organization (WHO) for being biased in favour of China. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom asks world leaders not to use the pandemic for political scoring. South African Cyril Ramaphosa defends WHO’s handling of the crisis. Ramaphosa puts his Minister of Communications on “special leave” for 2 months for her flouting the lockdown to have lunch with a friend. 2 million Rohingya refugees are placed under lockdown by the Bangladeshi Government. Worldwide opinion is fearful as the refugees are unlikely to receive fair treatment.
April 9 – The extensive reach of SARS-COV-2 is demonstrated when a 15-year-old boy in the Amazon gets infected. Spain and the USA each reach 15,000 fatalities. Many smaller countries are fighting hard, with deaths at: Ireland (265), The Netherlands (2,396). Canada reports a records 1 million job losses for March. South Africa’s 3-week lockdown extended to 5 weeks, ending April 30. Kazakhstan does the same. The Wall Street Journal reports that a third of the USA’s apartment renters (public housing excluded) never paid their rent.
April 10 – In 8 days, global infections increase from 1-million to 1.5-million. And in 3 weeks, it’s estimated 16.8 million people lost their jobs in the USA.
April 11 – The figures of poor countries and continents remain unreliable. Few would believe that Africa has only had 11,000 infections and 562 deaths. This is the 30th day of this blogger’s solo, self-isolation. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announces that schools will reopen in September – that’s 6 months lockdown.
April 12 – Health economist, Alex van den Heever, tells the Sunday Times that South Africa cannot survive an extended lockdown. He estimates that the current situation has cost the country R370-billion. There are also concerns that children will starve without school feeding programs, with extra concern for 55,000 homes that have a child in charge. The world has verified 1,780,314 infections and 108,827 deaths. This is the current status of notable hotspots:
COUNTRIES RANKED BY COVID-19 DEATHS
|USA||20,577||532,879||climbing||8,627 deaths in New York state|
|Italy||19,468||152,271||curving||Lockdown until May 3|
|Spain||16,606||163,027||curving||3rd day with drop in fatalities|
|France||13,832||129,654||uncertain||>4,599 nursing home deaths|
|UK||9,875||78,991||climbing||37,494 deaths predicted|
|Iran||4,357||70,029||uncertain||After week drop, 2 day climb|
|Belgium||3,346||28,018||climbing||50 billion euro loan from EU|
|China||3,339||82,052||curving||Banks lent $405 billion in March|
|Germany||2,871||125,452||uncertain||Best EU handling of crisis|
|Netherlands||2,643||24,413||climbing||EU in-fighting continues|
|Brazil||1,140||20,962||uncertain||Most deaths Southern Hemisphere|
|Turkey||1,101||52,167||climbing||93yr-old woman recovers|
|Switzerland||1,036||25,107||curving||Lockdown extended to April 26|
April 13 – 183 South African schools vandalised or burglarised since coronavirus lockdown began.
This timeline was extracted from Al Jazeera, Reuters, Wikipedia and other news websites. To keep updated, the best single source is Worldometer.