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COVID-19 Timeline Project

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

February 2020

By the end of January there is an apparent growing sense of awareness / unease that the newly discovered coronavirus may turn into a serious global threat.

In February I document evidence showing President Trump and select members of Congress were receiving periodic intelligence briefings starting in January and continuing through this month. Senior members of President Trump’s administration have publicly documented warnings, and the “Red Dawn” email chain demonstrates that a number of senior U.S. policy makers were very much aware of the impending pandemic and potential consequences. The Coronavirus is spreading across the globe by this point, and throughout February the spread continues as people start dying.

Starting this month, I include cumulative daily counts for Coronavirus cases in the US, and cumulative reported Coronavirus deaths. My reference is the Wikipedia entry “COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Month of February

Month of February

As reported in the book, “Nightmare Scenario” during a White house meeting in February, Trump mused about sending infected Americans to Guantanamo, seeking to keep COVID numbers down.
Continuing from January through the month of February, President Trump will receive periodic intelligence briefings which trace the spread of the virus, China’s actions in suppressing information, and “raise the prospect of dire political and economic consequences” if the virus spread to the United States. These briefings were presented by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence through the daily report.
The “Red Dawn” email chain continues through this month.
Cumulative Number US Cases | Cumulative Number US Deaths
Cumulative Global Cases | Cumulative Global Deaths | Number Countries Reported

February 1

Princess Cruises confirms that a guest from Hong Kong who traveled for five days on Diamond Princess from Yokohama (Tokyo) on January 20, and disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25, tested positive for coronavirus, six days after leaving the ship. Diamond Princess is on a 14-day round trip itinerary, which departed from Yokohama (Tokyo) on January 20 and is scheduled to return on February 4. There are 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew onboard.
Number US Cases: 8 | Number US Deaths: 0
Global Cases: 11,953 | Global Deaths: 259 | Countries: 23

February 2

The second case of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines was confirmed, a 44-year-old Chinese man who died a day earlier. This was also the first confirmed death from the disease outside mainland China
President Trump’s restrictions and quarantine rules on air travel between the U.S. and China go into effect.
Number US Cases: 11 | Number US Deaths: 0
Global Cases: 14,557 | Global Deaths: 305 | Countries: 23

February 3

An unclassified briefing document on the novel coronavirus prepared by U.S. Army-North projects that “between 80,000 and 150,000 could die.” It frames the projection as a “Black Swan” analysis, meaning an outlier event of extreme consequence but an unlikely one. The document is seen by NORTHCOM commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Army-North commander, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, (whose forces are the main contributor to NORTHCOM) and Department of the Army’s Pentagon headquarters; Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.
Number US Cases: 11 | Number US Deaths: 0
Global Cases: 17,391 | Global Deaths: 362 | Countries: 23

February 4

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, receives a classified briefing from the ONS on the Coronavirus threat. He later announces “The coronavirus doesn’t appear to pose any imminent threat to Americans who have not recently traveled to the Hubei province of China. I’m encouraged by steps the federal government is taking to protect Americans abroad and at home. […] While the coronavirus is not yet a pandemic, there are signs that it could develop into a worldwide threat.
The FDA issues an EUA to enable emergency use of the CDC‘s 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. To date, this test has been limited to use at CDC laboratories; today’s authorization allows the use of the test at any CDC-qualified lab across the country.
Icon - related information This authorization also clears the way for issuing EUAs for other devices if the FDA reasonably believes that the device may be effective, rather than waiting to grant full approval when it has reasonable assurance that the device is safe and effective.
Princess Cruises-owned Cruise ship Diamond Princess is quarantined in the Port of Yokohama in Japan with 10 passengers were diagnosed with Coronavirus.
Number US Cases: 11 | Number US Deaths: 0
Global Cases: 20,639 | Global Deaths: 426 | Countries: 23

February 5

In the impeachment proceedings against President Trump, 52 Republican senators votes to clear trump of impeachment charges, while all 47 Democratic Senators and Republican Senator Mitt Romney (R-Ut) vote to remove President Trump from Office. The President is not removed from office, ending the impeachment process.
The CDC begins shipping coronavirus test kits to laboratories around the country. the agency said it was releasing 200 kits — each capable of testing around 700 to 800 specimens — giving labs just one kit each.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweet: “Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.”
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 0
Global Cases: 24,554 | Global Deaths: 492 | Countries: 24

February 6

The first identified COVID-19 death occurs in the U.S., a woman in Santa Clara County, California. The Santa Clara woman did not contract it through travel, officials say, but it remains unclear how she became infected, raising the specter of community spread happening much earlier than previously known. The identification as a Coronavirus death was later made in April.
The WHO announces they have shipped 250,000 tests to more than 70 laboratories around the world and are training lab workers to use them.
Emails released on November 18, 2020, show that EcoHealth Alliance began circulating a draft statement of solidarity and support for scientists, public health and medical professionals of China to be signed by prominent professionals in the medical field. The scientists’ letter appeared in The Lancet on February 18, 2020.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 28,276 | Global Deaths: 565 | Countries: 24

February 7

Trump Tweet: “Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus. He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but…
…he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!”
Icon - Audio Information Link During a recorded interview with writer and investigative reporter Bob Woodward, President Trump divulged to Woodward that the night before he’d spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the virus. Woodward quotes Trump as saying, “We’ve got a little bit of an interesting setback with the virus going in China. […] It goes through the air. That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”
Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, the first doctor to identify the new virus strain, dies in Wuhan, China.
A study is published in the medical journal JAMA, reporting that 41% of the first 138 patients diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan, China, were presumed to be infected in that hospital. The study’s results indicate the virus is very infectious.
Sen. Richard Burr – head of the intelligence committee – and Sen. Lamar Alexander – Chairman of the Senate Health Committee – co-authors an OpEd. They assure the public that “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.” He writes, “No matter the outbreak or threat, Congress and the federal government have been vigilant in identifying gaps in its readiness efforts and improving its response capabilities.
Fifty State and local public-health medical labs receive the first batch of CDC Coronavirus Test Kits.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 31,481 | Global Deaths: 638 | Countries: 24

February 8

Dr. Rick Bright, director of BARDA, meets with Peter Navarro and urges the U.S. to stop exporting high-quality N95 masks, stock up on remdesivir (an antiviral drug that would later be approved by the FDA to treat Coronavirus), and develop a “Manhattan Project” for a vaccine against the Coronavirus.
Forty-one medical labs report to the CDC they are seeing errors with the test kits.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 34,886 | Global Deaths: 724 | Countries: 24

February 9

The death toll of Chinese victims of 2019-nCoV is now over 800, surpassing the death toll of the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, which killed 773 people.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 37,558 | Global Deaths: 813 | Countries: 24

February 10

In a press briefing President Trump states: “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now. So — but a very good question.”
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 40,554 | Global Deaths: 910 | Countries: 24

February 11

The WHO announces that the new coronavirus disease will be formally called “COVID-19.”
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 43,103 | Global Deaths: 1,018 | Countries: 24

February 12

The CDC confirms flaws in their distributed coronavirus tests cause inconclusive results, and orders state labs to discontinue using the tests. As a result, the U.S. is only performing about 100 tests per day. For the next several weeks only people who had recently traveled to China or had been in contact with someone who had the virus may be given a test.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier warns that the US “should be prepared for this new virus to gain a foothold” in the country and that “at some point we are likely to see community spread in the US or other countries.”
As a member of the Senate HELP Committee, Sen. Richard Burr is briefed by government health experts about overall national preparedness and how an epidemic might impact the U.S.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 45,171 | Global Deaths: 1,115 | Countries: 24

February 13

Sen. Richard Burr initiates transactions to sell off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings in 33 separate transactions. As the head of the intelligence committee, and member of the HELP committee, he was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time. His biggest stock sales include companies that are among the most vulnerable to the coming coronavirus-driven economic slowdown.
Sen. Richard Burr‘s brother-in-Law, Gerald Fauth, sells between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of six stocks.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 46,997 | Global Deaths: 1,369 | Countries: 24

February 14

In a speech, President Trump states: “And we’re — we have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape. And I spoke with President Xi of China, and he’s working very hard on this. It’s a tremendous problem. But they’re very capable and they’ll — they’ll get to it. There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm — historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner, so that’ll be a great thing in China and other places.”
The CDC announced a plan to perform Coronavirus screening in five high-risk cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. An agency official said it could provide “an early warning signal to trigger a change in our response strategy.” But most of the cities are not able to perform the tests due to shortage of test kits.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 49,053 | Global Deaths: 1,383 | Countries: 24

February 15

Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 50,580 | Global Deaths: 1,526 | Countries: 25

February 16

Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 1
Global Cases: 51,857 | Global Deaths: 1,669 | Countries: 25

February 17

328 Americans are evacuated from the Cruise ship Diamond Princess and flown home. Due to confusion over test results, passengers returned home without actually knowing their Coronavirus test results. 61 Americans remain on board the cruise ship.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 71,429 | Global Deaths: 1,775 | Countries: 25

February 18

“I don’t think corona is as big a threat as people make it out to be,” the acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Tomas Philipson, told reporters during a briefing. “Public health threats did not typically hurt the economy.” Mr. Philipson suggests the virus would not be nearly as bad as a normal flu season. His statement contradicts his Council’s September 2019 study, showing a pandemic disease could kill a half million Americans and devastate the economy.
On cruise ship Diamond Princess, 542 cases of the virus have been identified among the 3,711 quarantined passengers and crew, making the ship the site of the greatest number of infections outside of China.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 73,332 | Global Deaths: 1,873 | Countries: 25

February 19

During an interview, President Trump states of the Coronavirus; “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus. So let’s see what happens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.”
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a study of more than 72,000 confirmed and suspected cases of the novel coronavirus, found that the virus was more contagious than the related viruses that cause SARS and MERS.
Number US Cases: 12 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 75,204 | Global Deaths: 2,009 | Countries: 25

February 20

Number US Cases: 14 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 75,748 | Global Deaths: 2,129 | Countries: 26

February 21

Number US Cases: 14 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 76,769 | Global Deaths: 2,247 | Countries: 26

February 22

In a press briefing, President Trump says of the Coronavirus: “We’re very — very cognizant of everything going on. We have it very much under control in this country. […] it’s a big situation going on throughout the world. And I can say, the United States, we’ve very much closed our doors in certain areas, in about certain areas, through certain areas. And we’ll see what happens. But we have the greatest doctors in the world. We have it very much under control. We accepted a few people — a small number of people. They’re very well confined and they should be getting better fairly soon. Very interestingly, we’ve had no deaths. We have a — I mean, you know, we’ve had a great practice. We had 12, at one point. And now they’ve gotten very much better. Many of them are fully recovered.”
Number US Cases: 14 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 77,794 | Global Deaths: 2,359 | Countries: 28

February 23

The WHO announces that the coronavirus is present in 30 countries, with 78,811 confirmed cases, a more than five-fold increase over the previous three weeks.
Number US Cases: 14 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 78,811 | Global Deaths: 2,462 | Countries: 28

February 24

President Trump Tweets: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
Stocks fall sharply globally as the number of coronavirus cases outside China surge, stoking fears of a prolonged global economic slowdown from the virus spread. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,031.61 points lower, 3.56%. The S&P 500 slid 3.35% while the Nasdaq Composite closed 3.71% lower. It was the Dow’s biggest point and percentage-point drop since February 2018.
While many company stocks dropped, stocks for Alpha Pro Tech, maker of protective clothing and masks, surged more than 25%.
Stephen Moore, an informal economic adviser to the Trump team, states “The view in the White House is that this is one of those classic black swan events, and all we can do is control the health issues in the U.S.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer Senate Floor Speech: “All of the warning lights are flashing bright red. We are staring down a potential pandemic and the administration has no plan. We have a crisis of Coronavirus and President Trump has no plan, no urgency, no understanding of the facts, or how to coordinate a response. We must get a handle on the Coronavirus and make sure the United States is fully prepared to deal with its potentially far-reaching consequences.”
Number US Cases: 14 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 79,331 | Global Deaths: 2,618 | Countries: 29

February 25

In an interview, Larry Kudlow states the U.S. has “contained” the threat of a domestic coronavirus outbreak. “We have contained this, I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight.” Of needed medical supplies, he says “I’m not at all convinced that we can’t get hold of what we need here in the U.S. We have stockpiles. We also have the capacity to produce more in all these areas.”
President Trump Tweet: “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!”
White House officials sought to swat away concerns their emergency request for $2.5 billion to address the outbreak was inadequate, even as some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing the amount — and slamming a lack of transparency around efforts to contain the disease on U.S. soil. President Trump’s supporters express concern the developing health crisis may hurt Trump’s re-election chances.
The global stock rout related to coronavirus fears continued with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing nearly 900 points. The S&P 500′s two-day loss of 6.3% was the largest since August 2015. The Dow dropped 879.44 points, or 3.1%. The benchmark posted back-to-back losses of at least 800 points for the first time ever. The S&P 500 slid 3%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2.8% and turned negative for the year. The session was the market’s worst in two years.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier states: “We expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”
Number US Cases: 14 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 80,239 | Global Deaths: 2,700 | Countries: 33

February 26

Sen. Chuck Schumer formally releases a proposal emergency funding of $8.5 billion to combat the coronavirus saying it “brings desperately-needed resources to the global fight against coronavirus.”
President Trump News Conference: stated he’s not worried about the spread of the virus in the US. “No, because we’re ready for it,” Trump responded. “It is what it is. We’re ready for it. We’re really prepared. We have, as I said, we have the greatest people in the world. We’re very ready for it. […] Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.” […] But that’s a little bit like the flu. It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”
President Trump Tweet: “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!”
President Trump appoints Vice President Mike Pence as chair of the Coronavirus task Force. His role will be to work with Congress to ensure resources are available, reach out to state governors and local officials, meet with the task force and brief President Trump on best actions for combating the spread of the Coronavirus.
Republican Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) wife purchases between $1000 to $15,000 of stock in Gilead Sciences — which makes an antiviral drug used to treat covid-19. His financial disclosure was not made until August 11, 2021, sixteen months after the purchase, in violation of the 45-day reporting deadline set forth in the Stock Act, designed to combat insider trading by federal elected officials. Senator Paul is a member of the Senate health committee, which in January hosted Trump administration officials for a briefing on the coronavirus.
Number US Cases: 15 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 81,109 | Global Deaths: 2,762 | Countries: 37

February 27

President Trump remarks in a press conference: “If we were doing a bad job, we should also be criticized.  But we have done an incredible job.  We’re going to continue.  It’s going to disappear.  One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.  And from our shores, we — you know, it could get worse before it gets better.  It could maybe go away.  We’ll see what happens.  Nobody really knows. […] And we’re doing — as I said, we’re at 15 people and they’re getting better. We have one that’s quite ill. We got them late. And — but we have a country that’s pulling together and pulling together really well. I think the Democrats should not try and make this — or the Republicans — should not make this a political issue. This is above politics.”
Dr. Robert Redfield testifies before Congress that his agency “believes that the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is low.”
The CDC reports the first known case of community transmission in the US, meaning there was no known link to any travel.
Sen. Richard Burr makes a presentation to his major financial supporters at an exclusive social club. He states: “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history … It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.” Burr warns that companies might have to curtail their employees’ travel, that schools could close and that the military might be mobilized to compensate for overwhelmed hospitals.
the WHO increases its assessment of the global risk of the outbreak to “very high”
Princess Cruises confirms the disembarkation of all guests aboard Diamond Princess is complete. Less than 500 crew members remain on board with some awaiting government charter flights back to their home country.
Number US Cases: 15 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 82,294 | Global Deaths: 2,804 | Countries: 46

February 28

At a political rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, President Trump states:”Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, “How’s President Trump doing?”, “Oh, nothing, nothing.” They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. […] I was shocked to hear, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? Thirty-five thousand, that’s a lot of people. It could go to a hundred thousand. It could be 20,000. […] you hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody. You wonder if the press is in hysteria mode. CNN, fake news and the camera just went off. The camera just went off. Turn it back on. Hey, by the way, hold it. Look.”
Sen. Kelly Loefflerwho previously sold $18.7 million in stock after a private all-members session of the Senate Health Committee – accuse Democrats of misleading the American public about the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak for political gain. “Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness. Here’s the truth: @realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.”
In support of surging urging demand from international customers Allied Healthcare Products, a health product business based in St. Louis, ships about 1.5 tons of ventilator masks used for the company’s portable ventilator unit from New York to Hamburg, Germany.
Number US Cases: 19 | Number US Deaths: 2
Global Cases: 83,652 | Global Deaths: 2,858 | Countries: 51

February 29

the WHO has now shipped Coronavirus tests to nearly 60 countries, but not to the US which has chosen to develop it’s own test.
Icon - reference linkThe FDA issues a new policy for Covid-19 test kit authorization. They will not enforce certain certification requirements for qualified laboratories that had started using a new test, provided the lab notifies the FDA of its intention to test patient samples and submits the validation data in an EUA request within 15 business days. This puts labs developing their own Covid-19 tests on the honor system and prioritizes early access over independent confirmation of accuracy.
The WHO raises its global risk assessment over the coronavirus to the highest level, but stops short of declaring it a pandemic, saying there is still a chance of containing the disease. The global risk assessment is now on par with the risk level in China.
President Trump Press Conference Remarks: “At this moment, we have 22 patients in the United States currently that have coronavirus. Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight. She was a wonderful woman — a medically high-risk patient in her late fifties. Four others are very ill. Thankfully, 15 are either recovered fully or they’re well on their way to recovery. And in all cases, they’ve been let go in their home. […] Tremendous amounts of supplies are already on hand. We have 43 million masks, which is far more than anyone would have assumed we could have had so quickly, and a lot more are coming.”
Icon - reference linkSurgeon General Tweet: Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
State of Emergency Declared: Washington
Number US Cases: 24 | Number US Deaths: 3
Global Cases: 85,403 | Global Deaths: 2,924 | Countries: 53

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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 File

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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Increased Medical Exports

One interesting piece of information is that US exports of medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) increased from January to February by 22.7 percent. During the month of February, the value of U.S. mask exports to China alone was 1094 percent higher than the 2019 monthly average. This information was uncovered by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) and published in “Everyone But Us The Trump Administration and Medical Supply Exports” on April 6, 2020. Congresswoman Porter’s charge is that President Trump misapplied the Defense Production Act and mismanaged our nation’s supply of personal protective equipment and ventilators by exporting medical equipment, ignoring the pending needs of our country. This report is available for download here.

Everyone But Us The Trump Administration and Medical Supply Exports
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Red Dawn Emails

The New York Times has published the entire “Red Dawn” email chain. The chain starts January 28 and continues through mid-March. Although some emails are heavily redacted, much of the material is readable and shows an incredible awareness among senior policy makers of the impending impact of the Coronavirus and increasing frustration with our government’s inaction. I’ve made the email chain available as part of this timeline.

Global Coronavirus Spread

First reported confirmed cases per country.
Discrepancies in ‘First Case’ Count

February 4

Belgium – a Belgian national out of a group of nine Belgians repatriated from Wuhan to Brussels was reported to have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

February 9

Mallorca, Spain – a British male tourist in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, who contracted the disease after coming into contact with someone in France who subsequently tested positive.

February 14

Egypt – the health ministry announced the first case in the country at Cairo International Airport involving a Chinese national.

February 19

Iran – two people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the city of Qom. Later that day, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) stated that both had died.

February 21

Lebanon – a 45-year-old woman traveling back from pilgrimage in Qom, Iran, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was transferred to a hospital in Beirut.
Israel – a female Israeli citizen who had flown home from Japan after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess tested positive at Sheba Medical Center.

February 22

Bahrain – a school bus driver who came from Iran via Dubai.

February 23

Greece – a 38-year-old woman from Thessaloniki who had recently visited Νorthern Italy.

February 24

Afghanistan – the first confirmed case was one of three people from Herat, who had recently returned from Qom, Iran, a 35-year-old man.
Iraq – the first official case was an Iranian religious studies student in the city of Najaf, some 160 km (99 mi) south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Kuwait – the Ministry of Health announced that there were 3 cases detected coming from Iran that carry coronavirus. Two later cases were announced on that same day.
Oman – two Omani women who had returned from Iran.
Spain – the first case on mainland Spain was a medical doctor from Lombardy, Italy, who was on holiday in Tenerife, tested positive at the University Hospital of the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in Spain.

February 25

Algeria – an Italian man who arrived on 17 February.
Austria – the first two cases were a 24-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman from Lombardy, Italy. They tested positive and were treated at a hospital in Innsbruck, Tyrol.
Brazil – The first case of COVID-19 in Brazil, which was also the first in South America, was reported by the Health Department of São Paulo. The infected person was a 61-year-old man who had returned from Lombardy, Italy.
Croatia – a patient in Zagreb who had come from Italy was tested positive. The same day, a second case related to the first one was confirmed.
Canary Islands, Spain – the wife of the medical doctor from Lombardy, Italy, (the first person on mainland Spain to test positive) tested positive while on holiday in Tenerife.
Switzerland – a 70-year-old man in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, bordering Italy, who had previously visited Milan.

February 26

Georgia – A 50-year-old man who returned to Georgia from Iran was admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi. He came back to the Georgian border via Azerbaijan by taxi.
North Macedonia – a 50-year-old woman that was tested at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Skopje. She had been in Italy for a month and was sick for two weeks. Upon returning to North Macedonia she immediately reported herself to the clinic.
Norway – a woman tested positive for Coronavirus after returning from China the previous week. She was asymptomatic and in good health.
Pakistan – two cases reported. The first was a student at the University of Karachi, Karachi in Sindh province while the second patient was from the federal territory of the country. Both patients had recently returned from Iran.
Romania – the first confirmed case was in Gorj County.

February 27

Belarus – A student from Iran tested positive on 27 February and was admitted to a hospital in Minsk. The individual arrived in Belarus via a flight from Baku, Azerbaijan, on 22 February.
Denmark – a man from Roskilde who tested positive for COVID-19 at Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde. He was an editor from TV 2 who had been skiing in Lombardy in Italy and returned to Denmark on 24 February.
Estonia – an Iranian 34-year-old man tested positive after falling ill on board a bus from Riga, Latvia to Tallinn and called himself an ambulance. He had originally departed from Iran, and flown from Turkey to Riga.
The Netherlands – a man from Loon op Zand who had been in the Lombardy region of Italy was admitted to Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg.
Nigeria – an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria, in Lagos State, had returned on 25 February from Milan, Italy through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Northern Ireland – a woman who had returned from Italy.
Republic of Ireland – a woman from Belfast who had traveled from Northern Italy through Dublin Airport.
San Marino (within Italy) – an 88-year-old man with pre-existing medical conditions who came from Italy.

February 28

Azerbaijan – a Russian national who had traveled from Iran. Two more cases were later confirmed in the country, Azerbaijani nationals who returned from Iran.
Iceland – an Icelandic male in his forties who had been on a ski trip to Andalo in Northern Italy and returned home on 22 February. When he developed symptoms after his arrival he was quarantined at Landspítali hospital in Reykjavík.
Lithuania – a 39-year-old woman who arrived to Kaunas from Verona, Italy after a business trip.
Mexico – the first three cases. A 35-year-old man and a 59-year-old man in Mexico City and a 41-year-old man in the northern state of Sinaloa tested positive and were held in isolation at a hospital and a hotel, respectively. They had traveled to Bergamo and stayed in Italy for a week in mid-February.
New Zealand – a New Zealand citizen in her 60s who had recently visited Iran, returning via Bali, Indonesia, and arriving in New Zealand on 26 February at Auckland.

February 29

Ecuador – a woman in her 70s and an Ecuadorian citizen who resided in Spain. She arrived in Guayaquil on 14 February. 80 people who had contact with the infected woman were put under observation.
Luxembourg – a man in his forties who had returned from Italy via Charleroi, Belgium.
Monaco – a man who was admitted to the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, then transferred to Nice University Hospital in France.
Qatar – a passenger who had come from Iran to Qatar on a Qatar Airways Flight.
Venezuela – the first record of a patient claiming to have symptoms of coronavirus, with government officials suspecting the person could have entered the country as early as 25 February.

globe with coronavirus spread
Commentary on Global Spread

Chinese Social Media Chatter

The Chinese social media system WeChat first started floating rumors that America created the Coronavirus about the second week in February. I cannot find any published English-language references to this accusation. My source is via my wife’s WeChat social media conversations with family back in China. However, I find this significant as Chinese social media is tightly controlled, and a rumor such as this would not be allowed to circulate very long if it didn’t have the blessings of the Chinese government.

Email From EcoHealth Alliance

Emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know via public records requests show that EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak drafted the Lancet statement, and that he intended it to “not be identifiable as coming from any one organization or person” but rather to be seen as “simply a letter from leading scientists”. Daszak wrote that he wanted “to avoid the appearance of a political statement”. The scientists’ letter appeared in The Lancet on February 18, 2020.

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Additional Reading

This article lays out in great detail a chronology of what Trump said—and what he knew—in January and February. This timeline focuses on his relations with China during the two crucial months that seeded the epidemic in the United States.

Trump’s Lies About China and the Coronavirus

This article lays out how Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) leaders were deeply involved in coordinating the government’s coronavirus efforts with their counterparts at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), attending daily meetings and exchanging hundreds of emails on the topic, in February and March. This, despite the sworn testimony before Congress of FEMA officials that they were not in charge of the disjointed operation that came before they were officially placed in charge on March 18, 2020. Includes source files for download.

FEMA Told Congress It Had “Very Little Knowledge” About The Coronavirus Response Before March. New Documents Show It’s Been Deeply Involved Since The Beginning.

An annual leadership meeting of the drug company Biogen, bringing in executives from across the globe, becomes a Super-spreader event. By the end of the two-day meeting, the executives took a unique variant of the virus home with them to the Boston suburbs, Indiana and North Carolina, to Slovakia, Australia and Singapore. A study conducted in August shows that as of mid-July, the variant had been found in about one-third of the cases sequenced in Massachusetts and 3 percent of all genomes studied thus far in the United States.

Genetic data show how a single superspreading event sent coronavirus across Massachusetts — and the nation

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

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