COVID-19 Timeline

Dec. 31
The government in Wuhan, China confirms that they are treating dozens of cases of a respiratory illness of unknown cause.

Jan. 08
Researchers in China identify a novel coronavirus as the pathogen that has now sickened 59 people in the city of Wuhan.

Jan. 11
China reports its first known death from the virus, a 61-year-old man.

Jan. 20
Other countries, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States report their first confirmed cases.

Jan. 23
Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, is closed off to travel by Chinese authorities. At least 17 people have died and more than 570 others have been infected in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and the United States.

Jan. 30
The WHO declares a global health emergency.

Jan. 31
The Trump administration suspends entry into the U.S. by any foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the past 14 days. 213 people have died and nearly 9,800 people infected worldwide. India's first novel coronavirus patient - a student studying at Wuhan University - was reported in Kerala's Thrissur district.

Feb. 2
The first coronavirus death is reported outside China, a 44-year-old man in the Philippines. More than 360 people have died worldwide.

Feb. 7
Dr. Li Wenliang, a Chinese doctor reprimanded by the authorities for raising an early alarm about the virus’s dangerous potential, dies after contracting the coronavirus.

Feb. 11
The WHO proposes an official name for the novel coronavirus: COVID-19.

Feb. 14
France announces the first coronavirus death in Europe, an 80-year-old Chinese tourist.

Feb 23
Italy experiences a surge in cases, as the number reported grows from fewer than five to more than 150.

Feb 24
Iran experiences a surge of cases, reporting 61 confirmed cases and 12 deaths, more than any other country but China.

Feb. 26
Brazil reports the first known case in Latin America.

Feb. 29
The United States reports what is believed to be its first known death from COVID-19. The Trump administration issues a “do not travel” warning for areas in Italy and South Korea, as the number of global cases rises to nearly 87,000.

March 3
U.S. officials at the CDC lift all federal restrictions on coronavirus testing. More than 90,000 people have been infected globally, and 3,000 have died.

March 13
President Trump declares a national emergency in the United States, and the CDC recommends no gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. NYC’s public school system, the largest in the nation, announces that it will close.

March 16
Several countries in Latin America impose restrictions to slow the spread of the virus: Venezuela announces a nationwide quarantine, Ecuador and Peru implement countrywide lockdowns, and Colombia and Costa Rica close their borders.

March 17
The EU bars most nonessential travelers from outside the bloc, its first coordinated response to the pandemic.

March 24
The Tokyo Olympics are delayed until 2021. Only three previous Olympics have been cancelled, all because of war.

March 24
India announces a 21-day lockdown that triggered a mass exodus of migrant workers from Delhi and other cities.

March 27
The United States leads the world in confirmed cases, with at least 81,321 infections and more than 1,000 deaths. Stay-at-home directives from individual states amount to at least 265 million Americans being urged to stay home. President Trump signs a $2 trillion stimulus bill into law.

April 2
The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened more than one million people in 171 countries across six continents, killing at least 51,000.

April 5
Authorities in the Delhi government accused Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic organization, of carelessness during a global pandemic. Of about 4,400 COVID-19 positive cases in India, nearly a third were attributed by the government to the religious gathering at the Markaz, the Jamaat’s headquarter. A few days later, the hashtag #CoronaJihad started trending on Twitter and many leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started calling the religious gathering "corona terrorism”- a term that hinted at the Islamophobia of BJP.

April 9
28-year-old Gulfisha Fatima, who was an active participant in the anti-CAA NRC protest, was arrested by the Delhi government. Following her arrest, many student activists like Umar Khalid, Natasha Narwal, a member of a women’s collective called Pinjratod, Safoora Zargar, an activist who was three months pregnant at the time, and many others were booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The government lodged them in overcrowded jails of Delhi, where the risk of them contracting the virus was extremely high.

April 14
The International Monetary Fund warns that the global economy will experience its worst downturn since the Great Depression.
Indian academicians and civil-rights activists, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde, were arrested by the National Investigative Agency and charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code along with the UAPA.

April 17
Right-wing protestors in the U.S. congregate in large groups outside state capitols in Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio, in defiance of social distancing restrictions and business shutdowns. They are encouraged by a series of all-caps tweets by President Trump.

April 26
COVID-19 has sickened more than 2.8 million people worldwide, and killed at least 200,000.

April 30
Several international airlines announce rules requiring face masks.

May 13
Dr. Mike Ryan of the WHO announces that the coronavirus “may never go away,” dampening expectations that a vaccine will provide a quick and conclusive end to the COVID-19 crisis.

May 17
Japan and Germany, two of the world’s largest economies, enter recessions.

May 22
Infections in Latin America continue to rise in Brazil, Peru, and Chile, with data from Ecuador indicating that it is suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the world.

May 27
The United States, the global epicenter of the pandemic, reports more than 100,000 deaths and more than 1.6 million confirmed cases, a greater toll than in any other nation in the world.

May 29
India moves to ease its lockdown restrictions--some of the severest in the world--even as cases quickly increase in New Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and in migrant worker populations across northern India.

May 31
Spurred by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, mass protests over violence against Black Americans and police brutality begin to rock the United States, with protests in at least 75 cities. Despite health concerns, the demonstrations do not produce a surge in cases.

June 4
The number of known cases worldwide grows faster than ever, with more than 100,000 new cases each day.

June 11
Confirmed cases in Africa surpass 200,000. Outbreaks in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States continue to drive the global caseload.

June 22
Saudi Arabia imposes strict limits on this year’s hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

July 6
U.S. deaths surpass 130,000. A day later, the Trump administration announces that the United States is withdrawing from the WHO.

July 10
Hong Kong closes schools amid a third wave of infections.

July 11
After disparaging mask use and questioning its efficacy, the U.S. president Donald Trump makes his first public appearance in a face mask, about five months too late. An estimated 5.4 million Americans have lost their health insurance due to unemployment.

July 17
As India reaches more than one million confirmed cases and 25,000 deaths, total and partial lockdowns across the country are reimposed.

July 20
The European Union negotiates a $859 billion COVID-19 stimulus package.

July 30
Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, registers 753 new cases leading to lockdown with some of the toughest restrictions in the world

July 31
Millions of Americans lose crucial federal unemployment benefits, with no plan to replace them.

Aug. 1
Amid controversy and fears of infection, the first schools in the U.S. begin to reopen. A female high school student in Georgia is suspended for sharing a picture of a crowded hallway on Twitter.

August 9
After more than 100 days without any community spread of COVID-19, New Zealand records four new cases and another four probable cases of COVID.

August 11
Russia became the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, called 'Sputnik V.'

October 2
The U.S. president, Donald Trump, announces over Twitter that he and his wife Melania tested positive for COVID-19. He and the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden, had engaged in a live debate a few days earlier, physically distanced onstage but unmasked. Trump's ineffective pandemic response dominated the debate.

December 14
The first vaccine is administered in the U.S.

December 21
A new, more highly contagious COVID-19 mutation is identified in the U.K.

As of January 1, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened about 84 million people worldwide. At least 1.8 million have died.

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