Coronavirus Outbreak Timeline: News and Updates

Public health organizations and governments around the world are closely monitoring the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, which causes an upper respiratory illness known as COVID-19. As this is a developing situation, we’ll be regularly updating this timeline with the latest news, including links to daily situation reports from the WHO.

March 4:

New York officials report more cases of coronavirus

Six people in New York have tested positive for coronavirus, including four family members in Westchester County, according to state officials. In a press conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said those infected include a 50-year-old attorney, his wife, their 22-year-old son (a student at Yeshiva University), and their 14-year-old daughter (who attends a Bronx private high school). The man has been hospitalized in serious condition, while the other family members are quarantined at their home in New Rochelle. The man’s neighbor, who also tested positive, drove him to the hospital.

The first reported coronavirus case in New York was a health care worker who was infected in Iran. She is currently isolated in her home. The woman’s husband was also tested for the virus but the tests came back negative, Gov. Cuomo said.

WHO says coronavirus is deadlier than seasonal flu, but doesn’t transmit as easily

Dr. Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that the global mortality rate for COVID-19 was 3.4 percent. That figure primarily reflects the outbreak in mainland China, where the vast majority of cases have been detected. In comparison, season flu typically kills fewer than 1 percent of those infected. D

Dr. Margaret Harris, a W.H.O. spokeswoman, said the figure was expected to “change over time, and vary from place to place.” As researchers and officials get a clearer picture of the scale of those infected, the mortality rate could become “considerably less than 1 percent,” according to an editorial published by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The coronavirus does not transmit as efficiently as influenza but “causes more severe disease,” Dr. Tedros added.

March 3

Eight countries—Andorra, Jordan, Latvia, Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Tunisia—report new cases of COVID-19. Globally, over 90,000 cases have been confirmed and 3,200 deaths have been reported, with the vast majority of both occurring in mainland China, according to the WHO.

March 2

Six countries—Armenia, Czechia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Iceland, and Indonesia—report new cases of COVID-19. A team of WHO experts arrive in Tehran, Iran in order to support the coronavirus response.

March 1

Five countries—Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Ireland, Monaco, and Qatar—report new cases of COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases in Hubei province, China, increases for two successive days after a period of decline.

February 29

Mexico and San Marino report new cases of COVID-19. The U.S. government announces it will suspend entry to foreign nationals who have been in Iran within the past 14 days.

February 28

Five countries—Belarus, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Nigeria—report new cases of COVID-19. WHO increases their assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact to “very high” at the global level. There are now over 36,000 cases who have recovered from COVID-19 in China.

The CDC issues notices elevating the situation to a Level 3 “Warning” in Italy and Level 3 “Warning” in Iran, and recommends that travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to those countries.

February 27

Nine countries—Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, and North Macedonia—report new cases of COVID-19. The CDC updates its criteria to guide evaluation of persons under investigation for COVID-19.

February 26

Four countries—Algeria, Austria, Croatia, and Switzerland—report new cases of COVID-19. For the first time, since the onset of symptoms of the first identified case of COVID-19 on December 8, 2019, there are more new cases reported from countries outside of China than from China.

February 25

Four countries—Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Oman—report new cases of COVID-19. WHO shares an online course for healthcare workers and public health professionals titled Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

February 24

Kuwait reports new cases of COVID-19.

The CDC issues a notice elevating the situation to a Level 3 “Warning” in South Korea, and recommends travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to the country.

February 23

No new countries report cases of COVID-19.

February 22

Israel and Lebanon report new cases of COVID-19. The role of environmental contamination in the transmission of COVID-19 is not yet clear, according to WHO.

February 21

No new countries report cases of COVID-19.

February 20

Iran reports new cases of COVID-19. China revises their guidance on case classification for COVID-19, removing the classification of “clinically diagnosed” previously used for Hubei province, and retaining only “suspected” and “confirmed” for all areas, the latter requiring laboratory confirmation.

February 19

No new countries report cases of COVID-19. The CDC issues notices for Japan and Hong Kong, elevating the former to Level 2 “Alert” and urging practicing enhanced precautions, while declaring a Level 1 “Watch” for Hong Kong, urging to practice usual precautions.

February 16

A third death of a COVID-19 patient is reported outside of China. The individual was a tourist from China visiting France.

February 15

Egypt reports its first confirmed case of COVID-19. In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak situation that WHO finds encouraging, and areas of concern.

The U.S. prepares to evacuate its citizens from a cruise ship quarantined at a Japanese dock. France confirms the first death from COVID-19 in Europe.

February 14

A second death is reported outside of China, in Japan. This individual did not have known travel history to China.

February 11

WHO names the upper respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus “COVID-19.”

February 8

A U.S. citizen in Wuhan, China dies from the novel coronavirus, marking the first known fatality of a non-Chinese citizen.

February 7

Whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, who raised the alarm regarding the Wuhan coronavirus, dies.

January 30

WHO declares the outbreak to be a “public health emergency of international concern.” The first two confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease are reported in Italy; both had travel history to Wuhan City.

The first confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease are reported in Finland, India and Philippines; all had travel history to Wuhan City.

January 21

The CDC confirms the first case of 2019-nCoV in the United States in the state of Washington.

January 20

As of this date, 282 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV are reported from four countries including China (278 cases), Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case) and the Republic of Korea (1 case).

January 12

WHO receives further detailed information from the National Health Commission China that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan City.

January 7

The Chinese authorities identify a new type of coronavirus and isolate it.

January 3

By this date, a total of 44 case-patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology are reported to WHO by the national authorities in China.

December 31

The WHO China Country Office is informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) that are detected in Wuhan City, China.

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