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COVID-19 Timeline Project

Prelude <> Nov/Dec 2019 <> January 2020 <> February <> March <> April <> May <> June<> July <> August <> September <> Source Data

September 2020

September enters like a swirl of currents streaming in every possible direction.

We have the ongoing pandemic moving through different parts of the US like an incoming tide. Mixed with the pandemic tides are the increasingly louder thunderstorm warning of food insecurity and evictions for tens of millions of Americans due to loss of income. With the pending collapse of millions of small businesses, many jobs will never come back. Then there is the ongoing roiling tempest around re-opening schools, based upon hopes that masses of un-masked school children mixing with adult teachers will not spread the highly contagious Coronavirus.

We have the ongoing Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests constantly simmering in the background, erupting in violent protests every time a cop somewhere in America kills another unarmed Black person on-camera. Which seems to happen roughly once a week. These protests increase the number of people massing in public packed together with or without masks and deflect national attention from the increasing pandemic body counts.

We have the on-going corruption of the Trump administration, now kicked up a notch with his re-election campaign. The corruption of the FDA and CDC continues, to the point the media is publishing articles questioning whether these institutions can even be trusted to deliver reliable medical information.

This question of credibility also churns into the possibility that the FDA will approve a Covid-19 vaccine that has not been tested safe and effective by required medical standards. It is taken as given Trump will release an untested vaccine as means of improving this re-election chances. The tumescence presidential campaign adds yet another layer of swirling currents Americans need deal with.

The quality of medical data used to define our pandemic continues to be questionable, with numerous states reporting (or being reported on) difficulties and drop-outs of their medical data. Near the end of August there were hints from the Trump Administration that they would return medical data collection back to the CDC from HHS, but nothing since suggests that is occurring. It is possible those dropped hints were merely a way of deflecting heat the Trump administration was receiving from chaos of data reporting.

Also, near the end of August new disinformation circulated on social media that the CDC‘s reports were falsely attributing ninety-four percent of American deaths to the Coronavirus virus. Dealing with this propaganda is forcing top medical professionals to spend time explaining basic math to Americans instead of dealing with the pandemic.

The bottom line is, we still cannot rely on the accuracy of medical data being reported. A new medical advisor to President Trump, a doctor with no experience with infectious diseases, seems to have convinced Trump to just let the pandemic run its course. Working on the premise that they’ve tried nothing and are now out of ideas, “let it all burn” seems to be the new American approach.

Coronavirus Daily New Cases

Data Source: Our World in Data

Coronavirus Daily New Deaths

Data Source: Our World In Data

September 1

Icon - reference linkThe United States is one of the three worst countries in the entire developed world for Covid-19 deaths in August. More than seventy countries worldwide now have the Covid-19 pandemic well-controlled, with many recording no deaths at all for the month of August, just ended.
Icon - reference linkMore than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, which aims to speed vaccine development and secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk segment of each population. The plan, which is co-led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and GAVI, the vaccine alliance, was of interest to some members of the Trump administration and is backed by traditional U.S. allies. But the United States will not participate, in part because the White House does not want to work with the WHO, which President Trump has criticized over what he characterized as its “China-centric” response to the pandemic.
Icon - reference linkThe Trump administration Tuesday announced a four-month halt on eviction proceedings against cash-strapped renters, invoking federal public health laws out of concern that a national homelessness crisis could worsen the country’s coronavirus outbreak. The policy comes roughly a month after President Trump signed an executive order tasking the U.S. government, including the CDC, with exploring ways to protect renters as talks broke down on Capitol Hill over a new round of coronavirus relief. Brian Morgenstern, a spokesman for the White House, said the goal has been to ensure that families “struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus will not have to worry about being evicted and risk the further spreading of, or exposure to, the disease.”
Icon - reference linkDuring an interview on “Good Morning America,” Dr. Anthony Fauci clarifies the CDC’s recent report that states 6 percent (approximately 9,000) of the 183,500 Covid-19 deaths were attributed to the coronavirus alone. The infectious disease expert pointed out that the figure simply means Covid-19 caused those 9,000 deaths without causing the pneumonia, cardiac arrest, or other complications that killed the other 94 percent of people who contracted the virus. That data “does not mean that someone who has hypertension or diabetes who dies of COVID didn’t die of Covid-19. They did,” Fauci said.
Icon - reference linkThe United States faces a wave of small-business failures this fall if the federal government does not provide a new round of financial assistance. The Paycheck Protection Program provided hundreds of billions in loans and grants to help businesses retain employees and meet other obligations. Billions more went to the unemployed, in a $600 weekly supplement to state jobless benefits, and to many households, through a $1,200 tax rebate — money available to spend at local stores and restaurants. Now that aid is largely gone. many businesses face a stark choice: Do they try to hold on through a winter that could bring new shutdowns and restrictions, with no guarantee that sales will bounce back in the spring? Or do they cut their losses while they have something to salvage?
Icon - reference linkThe CDC is moving to temporarily halt evictions for some Americans struggling to pay their rent due to the pandemic by broadening protections already in place, an extraordinary move intended to stave off an impending eviction crisis nationwide. Under the CARES Act, only renters in federally backed units were protected from eviction, and there’s also a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for federally backed, single-family home mortgages. Today’s move covers any rental unit in the United States so long as the requirements are met, an official said.
Icon - reference linkFEMA officials said Tuesday the agency will end federal funding for cloth face masks in schools around the country. “Supporting schools and other functions — courthouses and other related functions – are not a direct emergency protective measures and therefore they’re not eligible for [federal funding],” said Keith Turi. The policy goes into effect on Sept. 15. FEMA said it will still provide personal protective equipment, including cloth face masks, for medical care, some medical sheltering, mass casualty management and other settings.
Icon - reference linkAmericans and American biomedical researchers have often prided themselves on conducting the best clinical research in the world. Yet with over six million coronavirus cases and 183,000 deaths, the United States has produced little path-breaking clinical research on treatments to reduce cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

September 2

Icon - Video Link Video interview: Former CDC director Dr. Tom Friedan fires back on misleading claims that CDC statistics on coronavirus death toll numbers were falsified.
Icon - reference linkA fierce debate has erupted over whether the FDA should use its emergency authority to clear a coronavirus vaccine before it is formally approved — a move opponents warn could pose safety dangers and inflame anti-vaccination sentiment but others say could save thousands of lives by speeding protection from the virus.
Icon - reference linkThe CDC is asking states to expedite the approval process for medical supply company McKesson so it can set up coronavirus vaccination sites by Nov. 1. The agency said states may need to waive some licensing and permit requirements that could bog down the process.
Icon - reference linkA Minnesota biker who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held August 7-16 in South Dakota has died of covid-19 — the first fatality from the virus traced to the 10-day event that drew more than 400,000. The case is among at least 260 cases in 11 states tied directly to the event, according to a survey of health departments by The Washington Post.
September 3

September 3

Icon - reference linkRepublican state’s death rate more than double Democratic states. Comparative analysis of the current twenty-two states hit the worse by deaths per million shows states with Democratic leadership tend to be faring better than states with Republican leadership. The states that were hit the worse early in the Pandemic – including New York and New Jersey – are now faring the best.
Icon - reference linkSigns have mounted all summer that the meteoric rise in the stock market was unsustainable. The runaway train on Wall Street was finally derailed today, when the Dow plummeted as much as 1,026 points, or 3.5%. It closed down 808 points, or 2.8%. The Nasdaq tumbled as much as 5.8% as pandemic winners like Apple, Zoom and Peloton tanked. Even mighty Amazon dropped 5%, though it remains up an incredible 82% on the year.
Icon - related information Tweet: ARE U BETTER OFF? Depends on who you ask…Stock mkt has returned to record levels. Sellers of boats, pools & other high-end goods are reporting blockbuster demand. Meanwhile, almost 11% of U.S. households didn’t have enough to eat in the previous 7 days.
Icon - reference linkU.S. employers announced another 115,762 job cuts in August, led by struggling airlines as the COVID-19 pandemic weighs on travel and financial assistance from the government lapses. Though the layoffs were 56% down from July, they lifted total job cuts so far this year to a record 1.963 million. The previous all-time annual high was 1.957 million in 2001. Companies announced 160,411 hiring intentions in August.
Icon - reference linkOfficials from at least three states – California , New York, and Washington – have suggested that they would refuse to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine if they believe it has not received adequate vetting by the federal government, or that it had been approved for political reasons.
Icon - reference linkEducation Secretary Betsy DeVos announces the Trump administration plans to enforce federal standardized testing requirements for K-12 schools despite the pandemic. DeVos told state school chiefs in a letter that they should not expect the Education Department to again waive federal testing requirements as it did this spring (announced March 20) amid sudden school closures.
September 4

September 4

Icon - reference linkThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.4 million in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent. In August, an increase in government employment largely reflected temporary hiring for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services.
Icon - related information In February, 152.4 million people were working. In August, 140.9 million were — meaning more than 11 million people who were working six months ago aren’t now. That’s 1 in every 13 jobs the country recorded in February. A lot of jobs recorded as lost at the beginning of the pandemic were temporary layoffs, and many of those workers are now back on the job. But as that’s happened, the number of people who’ve lost work permanently has steadily increased.
Icon - reference linkWilliamsville Central School District outside Buffalo, New York, has delayed the start of online-only learning programs for grades 5-12 because of mass staff resignations and leaves of absence. Superintendent Scott Martzloff said 90 staff members have taken a leave of absence due to Covid-19 and 111 staff members resigned. Additionally, 2,361 students opted into online-only learning, including 1,375 middle and high school students, creating more than 80 virtual teacher vacancies.
Global Cases: 26,121,999 | Global Deaths: 864,618

September 5

Icon - reference linkUS Dept of Labor Report: The total number of people claiming initial jobless benefits for the week ending September 5 was 884 thousand, an equal number compared to the previous week.
Icon - reference linkInfectious-disease experts are warning of a potential cold-weather surge of coronavirus cases — a long-feared “second wave” of infections and deaths, possibly at a catastrophic scale. It could begin well before Election Day, Nov. 3, although researchers assume the crest would come weeks later, closer to when fall gives way to winter. “My feeling is that there is a wave coming, and it’s not so much whether it’s coming but how big is it going to be,” says Eili Klein, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Icon - reference linkNine drug companies pledge that they will not submit vaccine candidates for FDA review until their safety and efficacy is shown in large clinical trials. The move is intended to bolster public confidence amid the rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available, and counter fears of political pressure to have a vaccine before the November presidential election.
Icon - related information States, cities, and pharmaceutical companies are contradicting or ignoring the Trump administration in responding to COVID-19 as the White House continues to push for responses that could help the President politically while undermining the country’s ability to fight the pandemic.
Icon - related information A large, Phase 3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, currently the leading contenter, at dozens of sites across the U.S. has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom. The pause is described as “a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,095,007 | Cumulative US Deaths: 185,687
September 6

September 6

Icon - reference linkTweet: The Dakotas now lead the US in number of new infections per million people.
Icon - related information Tweet: As predicted, in the wake of large group gatherings at Sturgis and before that Rushmore. You own this @KristiNoem You could have protected your citizens, but you chose a few fleeting moments of Trumpland attention.

September 7

Icon - reference linkThe path toward economic recovery in the U.S. has become sharply divided, with wealthier Americans earning and saving at record levels while the poorest struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table. The result is a splintered economic picture characterized by high highs — the stock market has hit record levels — and incongruous low lows: Nearly 30 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, and the jobless rate stands at 8.4 percent.
Icon - related information Tweet: Donald Trump didn’t create jobs, people just went back to work — but not nearly enough. We’re still at a deficit from 2016.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,189,488 | Cumulative US Deaths: 187,541
Global Cases: 27,032,617 | Global Deaths: 881,464

September 8

Icon - reference linkA new study entitled “The Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Covid-19,” by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that the 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, can be tied to 250,000 coronavirus cases. IZA estimates that the costs of this event to public health will be over $12 billion.
Icon - reference linkSince the Covid-19 pandemic reached the United States, and spread relatively unimpeded for the first few weeks, thousands of workers have contracted the virus, and filed worker compenstation claims. However, numerous Covid-19 workers’ compensation claims have been held up by employers and insurance companies trying to say that employees, in direct contact with populations of Americans, didn’t contract the virus at work.

September 9

Icon - reference linkEmails obtained by investigative reporters show Paul Alexander — a senior adviser to Michael Caputo — instructing press officers and others at the National Institutes of Health about what Dr. Anthony Fauci should say during media interviews. Alexander’s lengthy messages, some sent as recently as this week, are couched as scientific arguments. But they often contradict mainstream science while promoting political positions taken by the Trump administration on hot-button issues ranging from the use of convalescent plasma to school reopening. The emails add to evidence that the White House, and Trump appointees within HHS, are pushing health agencies to promote a political message instead of a scientific one.
Icon - reference linkEffective 12:01 a.m Monday September 14, the US will no longer screen for Covid-19 at international airports. The screening operations have been held at select airports since January, when the first cases of the disease began to emerge from Wuhan, China. Since March, incoming international flights from select high-risk countries, including much of Europe, China and Iran, among other regions, have been funneled through 15 designated airports in the United States. The orders to cease pre-screening operations came from the White House, with strict orders to keep the information secret until a public announcement is made.
Icon - reference linkOn April 11, the Trump administration announced it would require private health insurers to provide free antibody tests for coronavirus. However, about 2.4 percent of coronavirus tests billed to insurers leave the patient responsible for some portion of payment. Providers estimate that there have been 77 million tests done in the U.S. so far, which means hundreds of thousands of people are not getting the free testing promised by the administration.
Icon - reference linkA group of 78 researchers and doctors from Stanford Medical School issue a letter that rebuke Scott W. Atlas, who President Trump appointed to the White House coronavirus task force last month, for peddling “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science.” The Stanford experts wrote that they have a “moral and ethical responsibility” to dispute Atlas’ unfounded claims on COVID-19, which they described as “opinions and statements (that) run counter to established science” and “undermine public health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy.”
Cumulative US Cases: 6,248,989| Cumulative US Deaths: 188,172
Global Cases: 27,486,960 | Global Deaths: 894,983

September 10

Icon - Video Link President Trump Coronavirus Press Conference
Icon - reference linkAs students return to school, the deaths of at least six teachers across the nation in the past two weeks from Covid-19 renew pandemic fears.
Icon - related information President Trump Tweet: “Democrats, OPEN THE SCHOOLS ( SAFELY), NOW! When schools are closed, let the money follow the child (FAMILY). Why should schools be paid when they are closed? They shouldn’t!”
Icon - reference linkThe federal government is doling out pandemic relief money to hospitals using a formula that discriminates against predominantly Black communities. The method used by the HHS to help medical providers hammered by Covid is based on past revenue at those institutions. This shortchanges counties that have more Black residents, even though they have higher numbers of patients with Covid-19, as well as hospitals that are under the greatest financial strain.
Icon - reference linkOSHA has cited Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA proposed a penalty of $13,494, the maximum allowed by law. Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA cited the company for one violation of the general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm. At least 1,294 Smithfield workers contracted coronavirus, and four employees died from the virus in the spring of 2020.

September 11

Icon - Video Link Video of double-wide line of cars 1/2 mile long, waiting for the Chesterfield food bank in Chesterfield, Virginia.
Icon - reference linkDespite unparalleled aid from the Federal Reserve and Congress, large company bankruptcies spiked 244% in July and August from the same period of 2019. Some companies, like 118-year-old JCPenney, have found buyers to save the business and emerge from bankruptcy. Others, like department stores Lord & Taylor and Century 21, are shutting down completely. Unfortunately, bankruptcy watchers believe this may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Icon - reference link Investigative reporting reveals there have been at least 39,000 reported positive Covid-19 cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 417 plants in 40 states, and at least 184 reported worker deaths in at least 50 plants in 27 states.

September 12

Icon - reference linkInvestigative reporting reveals new details on how President Trump directed the NIH to approve blood plasma therapy for Coronavirus patients in time for an announcement on the evening prior to start of the Republican National Convention. Health experts are increasingly concerned Trump will force release of a vaccine before it is properly tested.
Icon - reference linkInvestigative reporting reveals the politically appointed HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo and his team have been changing CDC reports known as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) prior to release, to align with Trump policies. CDC officials initially fought back against the most sweeping changes, but have increasingly agreed to allow the political officials to review the reports and, in a few cases, compromised on the wording. Caputo’s team also has tried to halt the release of some CDC reports. In one clash, an Aug. 8 email sent to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials berated CDC scientists for attempting to use the reports to “hurt the President.”

September 13

Icon - Video Link Video: In a wild televised interview, Peter Navarro responds to President Trump’s purposeful downplaying of the COVID-19 pandemic in its early stages.
Icon - reference linkIn response to reports his team was rewriting or blocking CDC‘s MMWR reports, during a wild FaceBook Live interview hosted for supporters Michael Caputo said the CDC was harboring a “resistance unit” to Trump. The career scientists “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump,” Caputo said. “There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”
Icon - reference linkIn open defiance of Nevada state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines, President Donald Trump on Sunday hosted his first indoor rally since June 20, telling a packed, nearly mask-less crowd in Henderson that the nation was “making the last turn” in defeating the virus. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has limited in-person gatherings indoors and outdoors to 50 people since May, a recommendation based on White House reopening guidelines. In a statement released just before the rally began, Sisolak said Trump was “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada.”
Icon - reference linkMore than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines. Federal regulators knew about serious safety problems in dozens of the nation’s meat plants that became deadly coronavirus hot spots this spring but took six months to take action, recently citing two plants and finally requiring changes to protect workers. The financial penalties for a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota and a JBS plant in Colorado issued last week total about $29,000 — an amount critics said was so small that it would fail to serve as an incentive for the nation’s meatpackers to take social distancing and other measures to protect their employees.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,386,832| Cumulative US Deaths: 191,809
Global Cases: 28,637,952 | Global Deaths: 917,417

September 14

Icon - Video Link Video clip of interview; Bob Woodward shares a new recording of his interviews with Trump that reveal even more of the President’s failures to protect the American people from the Coronavirus.
Icon - reference linkHouse Democrats announce they are launching an investigation into how Trump appointees have pressured officials at the CDC to change or delay scientific reports on coronavirus. The investigation focuses on the CDC‘s MMWR Reports, the agency’s long-running series of scientific articles that researchers have looked to for the most current and reliable information on the coronavirus. These reports have traditionally been published without political interference.
Icon - reference linkDelivering a blow to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s strategy for responding to the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge on Monday ruled that key components of the governor’s mitigation strategy are unconstitutional, including decisions to temporarily shut down businesses and limit how many Pennsylvanians can gather in one place.
Icon - related information Pennsylvania reports 1,182 new Coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours.

September 15

Icon - Video Link President Trumps faces a live Town Hall meeting in Pennsylvania. During this Town Hall many of the questions asked related to the pandemic and health care.
September 16

September 16

Icon - reference linkThe US is now in the middle of what can only be described as a national Covid-19 epidemic, with cases across the country rising at alarming rates in recent weeks. Analysis indicates the vast majority of states report alarming trends across four benchmarks for coronavirus outbreaks, which means no state has its epidemic fully under control right now.
Icon - Video Link President Trump Coronavirus News Conference
Icon - related information President Trump news conference: Trump blames the “Blue States” for having a higher rate of deaths than the “Red States,” and suggests by eliminating the “Blue States,” our death rate would be quite low.  Since mid-June, a majority of the new coronavirus deaths each day have occurred in red states. Since mid-July at least 70 percent have.
Icon - Video Link Press Briefing with White House Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany. She announces several White House staffers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Icon - related information Tweet – Reporter: “The U.S. has 4% of the global population and 24% of the world’s COVID-19 death, how is that a success?” McEnany: “We use different numbers”
Icon - reference linkDr. Robert Redfield predicted that most of the American public will not have access to a vaccine against the novel coronavirus until late spring or summer of next year. Redfield said a safe and effective vaccine will become available in November or December — perhaps just before the presidential election seven weeks away. But the vaccine will be provided first to people most vulnerable to Covid-19, and supplies will increase over time, with Americans who are considered at lower risk offered the shot more gradually. For it to be “fully available to the American public, so we begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life,” he said, “I think we are probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
Icon - related information President Trump publicly rebukes Dr. Robert Redfield. Trump said Redfield “made a mistake” on both counts, It’s just incorrect information,” adding that he had called Redfield after his Senate testimony.
Icon - related information Dr. Redfield’s projection about the timetable for vaccine approval and distribution mirrored those of other top officials, including Operation Warp Speed chief scientist Moncef Slaoui and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Icon - reference linkMichael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking a two-month leave of absence from his post, three days after an off-the-rails FaceBook Live interview hosted for supporters, during which Caputo accused government scientists of “sedition” and working to undermine President Donald Trump.
Icon - reference linkThe Big Ten will kick off its football season the weekend of Oct. 24 after the league’s presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to resume competition, citing daily testing capabilities and a stronger confidence in the latest medical information. Each team will attempt to play eight games in eight weeks, leaving no wiggle room during the coronavirus pandemic before the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19. That date will also feature an extra cross-division game for each school, with seeded teams in each division squaring off.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,496,246| Cumulative US Deaths: 193,494
Global Cases: 29,444,198 | Global Deaths: 931,321

September 17

Icon - reference linkA heavily criticized recommendation from the CDC issued August 24 about who should be tested for the coronavirus was not written by CDC scientists and was posted to the agency’s website despite their serious objections. The guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus. the Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then “dropped” it into the CDC’s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process.
Icon - reference linkNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delays in-person public school openings for most students for over a week amid ongoing concerns over safety and staffing related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than begin in-person classes for all students on Monday September 21, as planned, de Blasio said in-person learning at K-5 and K-8 schools is delayed until September 29, and in-person learning at middle and high schools is delayed until October 1.
Icon - reference linkData from ICE shows that over 6,000 people in ICE detention centers across the country have contracted COVID-19 and there are presently more than 600 active cases.
Icon - reference linkTwo of the leading vaccine manufacturers—Moderna and Pfizer—release detailed plans for their Phase 3 testing. This is an attempt to practice radical transparency by allowing the public to view plans for testing, as means of restoring public faith in the vaccine process after President Trump has openly pushed for distributing a vaccine before the November 3 election. Both companies expect to be able to distribute a vaccine by early 2021.

September 18

Icon - reference linkThe Trump administration reversed itself on a key effort to politicize the response to COVID-19, reversing a scientifically unfounded recommendation that asymptomatic people in contact with those infected with the virus not get tested. The CDC made the change on its website without fanfare after investigative reporting published September 17 revealed that political officials at the Department of Health and Human Services had made the change against the express wishes of CDC scientists.
Icon - reference linkAs far back as June 6, scientists and public health experts have warned of mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus is airborne, transmitted through tiny droplets called aerosols that linger in the air much longer than the larger globs that come from coughing or sneezing. Now, the CDC agrees. The CDC posts a change on it’s website to its official guidance to note that aerosols are “thought to be the main way the virus spreads” and to warn that badly ventilated indoor spaces are particularly dangerous.
Icon - reference linkThe total number of postal workers testing positive has more than tripled from about 3,100 cases in June to 9,600 in September, and at least 83 postal workers have died from complications of COVID-19, according to USPS. Moreover, internal USPS data shows that about 52,700 of the agency’s 630,000 employees, or more than 8%, have taken time off at some point during the pandemic because they were sick, or had to quarantine or care for family members.
Icon - reference linkThe number of deaths reported to New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner more than doubled in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation’s largest city, according to a new report from the mayor’s office. “COVID-19 tragically represents the largest mass fatality incident in modern NYC history,” the report said. There were 65,712 deaths reported to OCME in 2020, compared to 30,964 a year earlier. “The number of deaths reported to OCME increased, corresponding to the surge in NYC deaths during the pandemic,” the report said.
Icon - reference linkCarnival Cruise Line has announced the company is canceling more trips due to the coronavirus pandemic and some ships won’t be sailing until 2021 and in some instances 2022. The company will be selling 18 of its ships from across all of its brands this year.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,571,119| Cumulative US Deaths: 195,638
Global Cases: 30,055,710 | Global Deaths: 943,433

September 19

Icon - reference linkThe steep decline in tourism and business travel has devastated the hotel industry.. Industry experts point to an unusually high loan delinquency rate among hotel borrowers as a sign that more closures are likely to follow. “We know there is a tsunami outside. We know it’s going to hit the beach. We just don’t know when,” said Donald Wise, a commercial real estate expert and co-founder and senior managing director at Turnbull Capital Group. Hotels that primarily cater to conventions and business travelers are more at risk of closing because such travel has all but disappeared, according to industry experts.

September 20

Icon - reference link
January 1, 2021
September 21

September 21

Icon - reference linkTweet of President Trump at a Campaign rally: “”It affects virtually nobody,” Trump says of the coronavirus, which has now killed 200,000 Americans and counting”
Icon - related information Clara Jeffery Tweet: “COVID now 4th largest mass casualty event in US history. Topped only by the Civil War, WWII, 1918 flu pandemic.”
Icon - reference linkAfter briefly acknowledging that the virus which causes COVID-19 spreads via the air on September 18, the CDC abruptly took down the post. The CDC removed the guidance, saying that it had been “posted in error.” Notice posted “A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”
Icon - reference linkThe NIH announces that one of its public affairs officers would retire after he was revealed to be surreptitiously attacking his employer and one of its directors, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in pseudonymous posts on Twitter and the right-wing website RedState. The official, William B. Crews, worked for and promoted the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases while simultaneously denouncing the agency’s work and its director, Dr. Fauci, dismissing their research and public health advice in wild and conspiratorial terms under the pen name Streiff.
Icon - related information Among the misinformation included assertions that wearing masks has “little to no medical value” and could do more “harm” than wearing no mask at all.
Icon - reference linkMore than half of states are reporting a rise in cases. Among the states reporting more new cases in the last seven days are Wisconsin, Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas, all of which are also reporting test positivity rates above 15%.The WHO advised governments in May that positivity rates should hold steady at 5% or lower for at least two weeks before businesses reopen. A total of 27 states and Puerto Rico have rates above that level, according to John Hopkins University. Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York all have positivity rates below 1%, and Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont are all reporting fewer cases than last week.
Icon - reference linkA top fitness industry trade association and some of its member gyms are promoting the message that health clubs nationwide are “safe and are not contributing to the spread of covid-19” based on the conclusions of a study that experts in public health and research methods say was methodologically flawed and open to conflicts of interest.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,703,698| Cumulative US Deaths: 198,094
Global Cases: 30,905,162 | Global Deaths: 958,703

September 22

Icon - reference linkInvestigation into a $1 billion fund allotted by Congress to the Pentagon in March to bolster the country’s supplies of medical equipment reveals that the funds have been mostly diverted to defense contractors and used to manufacture military equipment like jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.
Icon - reference linkThe FDA is expected to spell out a tough new standard for an emergency authorization of a coronavirus vaccine as soon as this week that will make it exceedingly difficult for any vaccine to be cleared before Election Day. The agency is issuing the guidance to boost transparency and public trust as it approaches the momentous decision of whether a prospective vaccine is safe and effective. Public health experts are increasingly worried that President Trump’s repeated predictions of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 3, coupled with the administration’s interference in federal science agencies, may prompt Americans to reject any vaccine as rushed and potentially tainted.
Icon - reference linkWisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a new public health emergency and extended a face coverings mandate into November to fight a flare-up of coronavirus cases, as the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. In-person social gatherings led to cases skyrocketing among people aged 18 to 24, Evers said, as he pleaded with students who returned to colleges for the fall semester to stay out of bars and wear masks. Wisconsin has experienced one of the highest percentage increases of coronavirus cases nationwide over the past two weeks, and has the second-highest rate of positive coronavirus tests in the nation at 17%.

September 23

Icon - reference linkPresident Trump says a plan by the FDA to issue tough new standards for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine “sounds like a political move” and warned that the White House might reject it. Trump said he had “tremendous trust in these massive companies” developing prospective vaccines and suggested that they, not federal regulators, could best determine when a vaccine should be made available to the American people. “When you have great companies coming up with these vaccines, why would they (the FDA) have to be, you know, adding great length to the process? We want to have people not get sick. I don’t see why it should be delayed further,” he said. “That is a lot of lives you’re talking about.”
Icon - reference linkDr. Deborah Birx has confided to aides and friends that she has become so unhappy with what she sees as her diminished role as coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force that she is not certain how much longer she can serve in her position. Birx has told people around her that she is “distressed” with the direction of the task force, describing the situation inside the nation’s response to the coronavirus as nightmarish. According to people familiar with her thinking, Birx views Scott W. Atlas, a recent addition to the task force, as an unhealthy influence on President Trump’s thinking when it comes to the virus.
Icon - reference linkAn analysis by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis —titled “Prioritizing Wall Street” (pdf)— reveals that the CARES Act Federal Reserve bond purchasing program meant to prevent workers from losing their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic, instead bolstered companies who laid off more than one million workers while paying massive dividends to shareholders. This finding escalating concerns that the central bank’s behavior is “contributing to an economic recovery that benefits wealthy executives and investors but leaves behind American workers.”
Icon - Video Link Select Subcommittee Hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Powell testifying before the Select Subcommittee on the Fed’s response to Covid-19.

September 24

Icon - reference linkThe closure of European borders to American tourists in March, with no clear off-ramp, has been one painful blow of the pandemic. Six months later, Americans are starting to travel again, but international destinations are still limited.

September 25

Icon - reference linkHHS is moving quickly on a highly unusual public awareness campaign to “defeat despair” about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by Michael Caputo, and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds. The ad blitz, described in some budget documents as the “Covid-19 immediate surge public advertising and awareness campaign,” is expected to lean heavily on video interviews between administration officials and celebrities, who will discuss aspects of the coronavirus outbreak and address the Trump administration’s response to the crisis. Democrats charge that the massive ad blitz is an attempt to boost Trump’s standing on Covid-19 before the election.
Icon - reference linkFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday allowing restaurants and bars to immediately begin operating at 100% capacity as the state is transitioning into Phase 3 of reopening. The order prohibits local governments from limiting restaurants to less than 50% capacity. DeSantis’ order also says no Covid-19 emergency ordinance can prevent a person from working or from operating a business.
Cumulative US Cases: 6,868,828| Cumulative US Deaths: 200,725
Global Cases: 32,029,704 | Global Deaths: 979,212

September 26

Icon - reference linkTens of millions of people are going hungry in the United States as Senate Republicans refuse to pass a new coronavirus stimulus bill. According to new data from the Census Bureau, 23 million adults live in households that had sometimes or often had “not enough to eat” over the previous seven days—a huge increase over 2019. And though adults in most families will go without food before letting their children go hungry, 9% to 14% of adults with children said those children sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat. Another survey found that one in six households is delaying payment on or missing major bills to buy food. Nearly half of people told the pollster that they were experiencing “serious financial problems,” with nearly one in three having spent most or all of their savings.
Icon - reference linkAs the FDA and CDC repeatedly assure the public that the vaccine for the novel coronavirus will be safe, indications that the review process may be undercut by politics has turned off people in minority communities to getting the vaccine when it becomes available — worrying physicians that communities disproportionately devastated by the covid-19 pandemic are most at risk of being left out of immunization efforts. To assuage fears within minority communities, a panel of Black doctors will vet the federal review of companies’ vaccines, said Leon McDougle, president of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest group of Black physicians in the country.

September 27

Icon - reference linkThe number of new coronavirus cases has increased by at least 10% or more compared to the week before in 21 states, most of them in the West. Cases are rising in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Eighteen states were holding steady. Only 11 — Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire — saw decreases of new cases of more than 10% compared to the week prior.
Icon - reference linkThe executive board of the union representing more than 6,400 of New York City’s school leaders passed a unanimous vote of no confidence against Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Sunday for what it called officials’ “failure to lead New York City through the safe and successful reopening of schools.”

September 28

Icon - reference linkCDC director Dr. Robert Redfield suggested in a conversation with a colleague that Dr. Scott W. Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data about a range of issues, including questioning the efficacy of masks, whether young people are susceptible to the virus and the potential benefits of herd immunity. “Everything he says is false,” Redfield said during a phone call made in public on a commercial airline and overheard by reporters.
Icon - reference linkDr. Anthony Fauci joins fellow White House coronavirus task members Dr. Deborah Birx and CDC Dr. Robert Redfield in expressing his concerns that President Trump’s new favorite COVID-19 adviser, Dr. Scott W. Atlas, is feeding the President misinformation amid the pandemic.

September 29

Icon - reference linkAmericans over 30 have been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic compared to this time last year. Overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by about 14% from 2019, the researchers reported in the journal JAMA Network Open. That increase averages out to about one additional drinking day per month by 75% of adults.
Icon - reference linkProlonged closures at Disney’s California-based theme parks and limited attendance at its open parks has forced the company to lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products division. While Disney’s theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California Adventure and Disneyland have remained shuttered in Anaheim, California.
Cumulative US Cases: 7,044,327| Cumulative US Deaths: 203,620
Global Cases: 33,249,563 | Global Deaths: 1,000,040

September 30

Icon - reference linkThe economic collapse sparked by the pandemic is triggering the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history, delivering a mild setback for those at or near the top and a depression-like blow for those at the bottom. While the nation overall has regained nearly half of the lost jobs, several key demographic groups have recovered more slowly, including mothers of school-age children, Black men, Black women, Hispanic men, Asian Americans, younger Americans (ages 25 to 34) and people without college degrees. No other recession in modern history has so pummeled society’s most vulnerable.
Icon - reference linkCommunities across the US are loosening restrictions meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 ahead of a fall and winter season experts warn could be especially challenging. This comes as at least 26 states — mostly in the country’s northern half — were reporting higher seven-day averages of new daily cases early Wednesday than a week ago.

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Meaning of Icons

Meaning of icons used in the main timeline narrative. All icons are linked to their source reference:
General Information
Continuation of previous information, with a different reference
State-of-Emergency or Stay-At-Home Declared or Rescinded
Video Icon Provides a video clip
Icon - Audio Information Link Provides an audio clip
Provides a pop-up information window
– Move your mouse over a bolded acronym, name, or term, used in this timeline for an explanation.
Icon Document Download Link for a Download File

Trump Twitter Tweets Defunct

This timeline cites a number of Twitter Tweets including those of then-President Trump. On January 8, 2021, Twitter deactivated President Trump’s Twitter account. This caused the citation links to become inactive.

Timeline Source Data

I built this timeline from a set of working notes in spreadsheet format. At present, my working notes have 1247 news entries, in addition to other references that form my “Additional Reading” sidebar entries, and other source references. Not all these news items are published in this timeline, for various reasons. My notes are freely available under a Creative Commons license (BY SA) to any writer or researcher who finds this work useful.
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Data Source Change For COVID Charts and Daily Reports

My source data for the two charts I’ve been placing at top of each monthly page is Our World In Data, an excellent reference that also publishes their data under a Creative Commons license. Until August 26 I was using their following reports for source data:

– Daily New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Rolling Three-Day Averages
– Daily New Confirmed COVID-19 Deaths Rolling Three-Day Averages

About August 27 Our World In Data discontinued those two reports. As a result, starting this month the two charts will be using slightly different data sets:

– Daily New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Rolling Seven-Day Average
– Daily New Confirmed COVID-19 Deaths Rolling Seven Day Average

The curves are roughly the same. One caveat on the European Union data is that some European Union (EU) countries have recently changed methodology. These changes have an impact on the chart data.

I’m also only updating the global and US cases counts appearing under each daily box, on a weekly basis. This is due to my data source, The WHO daily sitreps, moving to a weekly format.

Education Secretary Letter Announcing Standardized Testing Requirements

On September 3, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that schools would be required to perform standardized testing for the 2020 – 2021 school year. This, despite the on-going difficulties with school closings and on-line education initiatives. This is the letter sent to all Chief State School Officers.
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The Contagion Externality of a Super Spreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Covid-19

On September 5 San Diego State University, Center for health, economics, and policy studies, published a study on on the spread of Covid-19 and the August Sturgis, South Dakota, motorcycle rally. This study describes the rally as a Super-spreader event, and traces the spread through the use of cell phone data.
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Prioritizing Wall Street: The Fed’s Corporate Bond Purchases During the Coronavirus Pandemic

An analysis by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis reveals that the CARES Act Federal Reserve bond purchasing program meant to prevent workers from losing their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic, instead bolstered companies who laid off more than one million workers while paying massive dividends to shareholders. This finding escalating concerns that the central bank’s behavior is “contributing to an economic recovery that benefits wealthy executives and investors but leaves behind American workers.”
Icon Document Download
Download File

Searchable Post Office Documents

On Aug. 21, 2020, the U.S. Postal Service released nearly 10,000 pages of records to American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. On Sept. 17, 2020, after the documents had been posted publicly and had been discussed in multiple news reports, USPS requested that American Oversight remove the file from this website.
Following conversations with USPS, American Oversight has now reposted a copy of the file that includes redactions requested by the agency on a limited number of pages. Pages that relate to issues that were the subject of public reporting — such as the draft press release regarding the plan to mail face masks to every American household — remain un-redacted.

Link to Searchable US Post Office Documents

Trouble In Europe

Icon - reference linkOn September 17, the WHO issued a warning that coronavirus cases are surging alarmingly in Europe, as a “very serious situation” unfolds across the continent. As Covid-19 infections spike to record numbers, European governments are imposing strict local measures and weighing up further lockdowns in a bid to halt a second wave of the pandemic. But at a news conference WHO regional director Hans Kluge said that the increase in cases should serve as a warning of what is to come. “Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” Kluge said. “Last week, the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients.”

Additional Reading

An in-depth look at the factors that caused America to get trapped into a Pandemic Spiral of increasing numbers of cases and deaths with seemingly no way out.

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral

An in-depth article showing four key metrics in chart format that measure the level of disease control across the United States. Based on these four metrics, the authors conclude Covid-19 has reached epidemic levels across the United States. Published September 16.

Your state’s Covid-19 epidemic, explained in 5 maps. These maps show how your state is doing.

In April 2020, Max Kennedy, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy’s twenty-six-year-old grandson, tried to blow the whistle on the President’s malfeasance from an improbable perch—inside Trump’s coronavirus task force. Despite having signed a nondisclosure agreement, he sent an anonymous complaint to Congress detailing dangerous incompetence in the Administration’s response to the pandemic. Kennedy said, “If you see something that might be illegal, and cause thousands of civilian lives to be lost, a person has to speak out.” The Administration’s coronavirus response, he said, “was like a family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of the Flies.’ It was a government of chaos.” The New Yorker published September 21, 2022.

A Young Kennedy, in Kushnerland, Turned Whistle-Blower

Prelude <> Nov/Dec 2019 <> January 2020 <> February <> March <> April <> May <> June<> July <> August <> September <> Source Data

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