Coronavirus Disease 2019: Important Updates

Coronavirus Disease 2019: Important Updates

( – Last updated March 16, 2020.

In mid-December, a mysterious pneumonia-like viral illness began to infect residents of Wuhan, China. When the illness started spreading, Chinese officials reported the outbreak to the World Health Organization (WHO) and began an investigation into what was causing the sickness and where it might have come from. They discovered a new member of the Coronavirus family, now dubbed COVID-19 for COrona VIrus Disease 2019 — a virus for which there is currently no vaccine and no effective treatment.

The CDC has been keeping close tabs on the situation, working to prepare U.S. medical institutions for what they believe will be the inevitable hit, but the disease has spread fast since its initial emergence, and has now officially been labeled a pandemic.

We’ll be updating regularly as the situation continues to develop. Here’s what we know so far from the most recent events spanning the history:

  • As of March 15th, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US totaled over 3,000, with 61 deaths. The CDC released updated recommendations, advising the public to avoid group events of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks.
  • On March 13th, President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency. Doing so may have freed up an additional $50 billion in funding. He also announced outbound cruises from the United States were suspended for 30 days.
  • On March 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially labeled the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
  • On March 10th, Italy’s prime minister expanded it’s lockdown to include the entire country.
  • On March 7th, the CDC announced US coronavirus deaths now total 19.
  • On March 6th, President Donald Trump signed an emergency spending bill totaling $8.3 billion in order to combat COVID-19.
  • On March 5th, the CDC issued guidance (not an instruction or order) for high-risk individuals, encouraging them to begin staying home as much as possible.
  • As of February 28, more than 82,000 were infected worldwide and the number of deaths exceeded 2800. In particular, Italy saw a sharp rise in the number of infections with 650 currently infected and 17 dead. To date, 48 countries were reporting cases. After China (~78,500), South Korea (2,022), Italy (650), Iran (388) and Japan (189) currently had the most cases. The US currently stood at 60 cases, including the passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
  • As of February 25th, 80,155 cases of COVID-19 were reported worldwide, and 2,704 of those people have died.
  • By February 24th, 52 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been confirmed within the United States including the passengers from the Diamond Princess. Two of those cases were the result of person-to-person contact inside the country.
  • On February 15, 2020, the CDC announced that an estimated 400 U.S. residents who’d been aboard “The Diamond Princess,” a Japanese cruise ship with a confirmed outbreak onboard, would need to undergo a 2-week quarantine upon leaving the ship. So far, 36 U.S. passengers had fallen ill with the virus. Many were still under quarantine, being held at Travis Air Force Base in California and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.
  • By February 13, 2020, the CDC confirmed the 15th case in the United States.
  • On February 11, 2020, the WHO announced the virus’s official name: COVID-19.
  • On February 2, 2020, officials in the Philippines confirmed the first related death outside of China.
  • On January 30, 2020, the CDC confirmed that the virus could pass from person to person. The WHO finally declared a global emergency as the number of confirmed cases rose to 9,692 and deaths jumped to 213 people.
  • By January 25, 2020, the number of cases worldwide had jumped to 1,320, and 41 people had died.
  • By January 21, 2020, the WHO had 314 confirmed cases of the disease, and the United States confirmed its first case. The Washington resident had returned from Wuhan on January 15.
  • On January 17, 2020, airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York began screening for signs of the illness in travelers.
  • On January 14, 2020, China began installing infrared thermometers in all public transport system terminals to screen for fevers. The following day, Japan reported its first case imported from Wuhan.
  • On January 12, 2020, China shared the virus’s genetic sequence so other countries could develop diagnostic tests. The next day, Thailand reported its first lab-confirmed case; the patient had recently been to Wuhan.
  • On January 7, 2020, Chinese authorities isolated the infectious agent and identified it as a new strain of coronavirus.
  • By January 3, 2020, 44 people in and around Wuhan were hospitalized with the mystery virus.
  • On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities at the WHO China Country Office received a report of unidentified pneumonia cases in Wuhan City. The following day, they closed the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market for disinfection and inspected numerous other markets.

It’s possible this illness will reach pandemic proportions soon. The CDC recommends that people take the same precautions they would during flu season and avoid any travel to China until further notice.

~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!

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