Timeline of COVID-19 in the News

December 31, 2019: Pneumonia of unknown etiology in dozens of patients in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO)

December 31, 2019 – January 3, 2020: National Chinese authorities reported 44 cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology to the WHO

January 7: A new type of coronavirus was identified and isolated by Chinese authorities

January 11:  WHO received notification from the National Health Commission China that the virus was related to exposures at one seafood market in Wuhan; China reported its first death from the novel coronavirus

January 12: China shared genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with other countries to be used in the development of diagnostic tests

January 13 – January 20: Novel coronavirus spread to Thailand (January 13), Japan (January 15), and Republic of Korea (January 20)

January 20: First U.S. case of novel coronavirus reported in Snohomish, Washington

January 30:  The interim name given to this virus is “2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease”, and it is declared an international public health emergency by the WHO

January 31: First 2 cases reported in Italy

February 2: First death outside China occurs in Thailand

February 8: Sixty-four passengers and crew members on the Cruise Ship Diamond Princess were found to be infected, and were taken to hospitals in the Yokohama, Japan area. Remaining passengers were placed on a 14-day quarantine on the ship, which remained harbored in Yokohama, Japan.

February 20: Iran reports first cases of COVID-19

February 27 – March 1: New cases were reported in Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, North Macedonia, Belarus, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Mexico, San Marino, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Ireland, Monaco and Qatar

March 9: Italy is placed on lockdown to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19

March 11: WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic

March 13: Europe has become the epicenter of the pandemic

March 16: First human vaccine trial begins

March 19: The number of confirmed global cases reaches more than 200,000. It took 3 months for COVID-19 to spread to the first 100,000 cases, and only 12 additional days to reach 200,000 cases

March 20: New York state placed on lockdown

March 23: U.S. National Guard is activated in 3 states (New York, California, Washington) as COVID-19 pandemic escalates in the U.S.; nearly all U.S. states declare a state of emergency as cases total 33,404 and deaths reach 400; the number of global COVID-19 cases exceeds 300,000

March 24: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi orders total lockdown of its 1.3 billion citizens for 21 days

March 25: The United Nations introduced a $2 billion global charitable response plan to combat COVID-19 in vulnerable countries around the world 

March 26: New York City is the American epicenter of the virus

March 27: COVID-19 has killed more than 25,000 people worldwide and there are more than 566,000 reported cases, with more than 127,000 total recovered patients; Italy is reporting the highest mortality rates with more than 8,000 deaths; U.S. is reporting the most cases worldwide with more than 85,000 diagnosed 

The U.S. House of Representatives passes, and President Trump signs a $2.2 trilliion relief package for American citizens

March 30: More than 800,000 confirmed cases worldwide with nearly 39,000 reported deaths

March 31: WHO released a scientific brief about off-label use of certain medications to treat COVID-19; WHO co-sponsored SOLIDARITY clinical trial will investigate the efficacy of certain drugs, including anti-malarials as treatments for COVID-19

April 3: CDC recommends voluntary use of non-medical grade masks for U.S. citizens to prevent spreading the virus to others


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center

World Health Organization Rolling Updates on COVID-19

World Health Organization Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Situation Reports


Go to the profile of Melanie Allison, DNP, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

Melanie Allison, DNP, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

Executive Editorial Specialist, McGraw-Hill Education

Melanie Allison is the Executive Editorial Specialist with McGraw-Hill Education. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from The Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Master’s of Science in Nursing degree (MSN), specializing as an acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP), from Vanderbilt University. Melanie has more than 20 years of experience as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in adult cardiology. She is a part-time faculty member at a top school of nursing, where she has taught for more than 15 years.

No comments yet.