Jan 15: The first known case of the novel coronavirus arrives in the U.S., in Washington State.
Jan 16: Researchers in Germany develop a new test for detecting the novel coronavirus. The WHO publishes it. Japan announces its first case. Wuhan officials continue to say that they have had no new cases in two weeks.
Jan 17: The U.S. CDC sends 100 people to three American airports to screen people coming in from Wuhan, China.
Jan 18: Epidemiologists from Beijing, China, arrive in Wuhan and report 17 more cases in Wuhan, with three in critical condition. The Wuhan City government holds its annual banquet. US Health and Human Services head, Alex Azar warns Trump about the virus. Trump replies by asking when flavored vaping products will return to the market.
Jan 19: China confirms cases outside of Wuhan. China confirms that the virus is human to human transmittable.
Jan 20: South Korea reports its first case. The U.S. confirms its first case. The U.S. CDC releases a testing kit.
Jan 22: WHO reports that 314 cases have been detected globally. Chinese officials announce a quarantine of Wuhan, with no traffic allowed in or out after 10 AM on Jan 23. At this point, an estimated 5 million people have already travelled out of the city. Trump declares at an economic forum in Geneva, “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” The WHO meets in Geneva to decide whether or not this is an international health emergency.*
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that sorrow looks down, worry looks around, and faith looks up. People who look up bang their shins on coffee tables and fall off cliffs.
Right now, “looking around” means watching what is happening with that distant virus in China. The World Health Organization reports that it (whatever “it” is) is now here in the United States. It arrived in Washington State two days ago, clinging to the lungs of a man in his thirties who, upon realizing that he was sick, checked himself into an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County. The office staff gave him a mask to wear and left him waiting for twenty minutes in the front room. It must have been harrowing for him, sitting there alone, knowing that the CDC had put out a health alert, his breath turning more labored, his body aching. Four days earlier, he had flown home from visiting his family in Wuhan. He said that he hadn’t been to the Huanan seafood market where the virus is thought to have started, and he didn’t talk to anyone who was sick. He is (or maybe was?) a healthy non-smoker who hadn’t felt ill until yesterday. They sent him home and told him to quarantine himself while they ran tests. The next day, people in hazmat suits showed up at his house, their face masks fogging up in the warm rain. They took him to an airborne-isolation unit at the Providence Regional Medical Center. The hospital has a beautiful view of the sea. In 1918, John Muir described the “aspiring forests” of Puget Sound and its “beauty ever changing, in lavish profusion.” There is probably not much of a view for this man from Wuhan.
If there is anything to worry about, it is the time that it took for this man to make it from Wuhan to that airborne-isolation unit. A few days ago, Chinese scientists reported that the virus does spread from human contact. Since no one screened him at any airport, or for the four days between his arrival in the country on the 15th and when he went to see a doctor on the 19th, the risk that he transmitted this virus somewhere along the way seems real.
Trump seems unconcerned:
|JOE KERNEN: –are there worries about a pandemic at this point? PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. Not at all. And– we’re– we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine. JOE KERNEN: Okay. And President Xi– there’s just some– talk in China that maybe the transparency isn’t everything that it’s going to be. Do you trust that we’re going to know everything we need to know from China? PRESIDENT TRUMP: I do. I do. I have a great relationship with President Xi. We just signed probably the biggest deal ever made. It certainly has the potential to be the biggest deal ever made. |
The truth is that no one here is talking about this. Like global warming, school shootings, systemic racism, and gender inequality, we think acutely about these global conundrums, and then a warm sense of being-distracted-by-our-own -messy-lives washes over us, and those of us who are not living in the eye of the storm quietly get on with business as usual. We are, understandably, paying attention to the ongoing impeachment trial, and, of course, are open to the general distraction of television and media. In that vein, it is perhaps a sign of the times to note the sad death of Mr. Peanut at the ripe age of 104. In the video/commercial marking his death, he sacrifices himself to save a white man (Matt Walsh) and a Black man (Wesley Snipes). In an interview, the ad agency said they killed off Mr. Peanut because the popularity of fictional characters soars once once they die. This may be the case, but there are other reasons to let him go. Mr. Peanut always resembled Neville Chamberlain, with his top hat, cane, and monocle—a symbol of the genteel planter class (I think that this was the intended pun in Mr. Peanut, who was created at the turn of the century to make the lowly peanut more palatable to a rising consumer America). I guess no one needs a Foghorn Leghorn peanut man who probably made his wealth on the backs of the working class. You can just imagine him telling Aunt Jemima to make his breakfast.
The Death of Mr. Peanut, a lasting symbol of the planter class. January 22, 2020.
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#China🇨🇳 has reported to WHO 139 new cases of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in #Wuhan, #Beijing and #Shenzhen over the past two days.— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 19, 2020
This is the result of increased searching and testing for 2019-nCoV among people sick with respiratory illness. pic.twitter.com/qAuaFzYmXH
FLASH: A mysterious virus is causing serious chest infection in China killing people. 51 victims 7 in critical condition 2 dead Has spread to Japan and Thailand. USA now screens people at airports. It takes a second to retweet till nigerian aviation is aware. Help save a life! pic.twitter.com/RRe0coHVF4— #OurFavOnlineDoc 🩺🇳🇬🇬🇧💎 (@DrOlufunmilayo) January 18, 2020
NEW: The first case of an infection with the new coronavirus has been discovered in the United States, from someone traveling from Wuhan, China.— NPR (@NPR) January 21, 2020
The case was detected prior to the implementation of screening at three U.S. airports last Friday. https://t.co/eaPCFtd3Hf
Latest on new coronavirus emerging from Wuhan, China: 6 now dead from the respiratory infection; stock prices of mask companies are rising; a case has been confirmed in Taiwan, which joins South Korea, Japan and Thailand as sites where virus reported. https://t.co/bctmgRrFE4— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 21, 2020
Coronavirus is recently discovered which is a powerful infectious virus. Use mask while going outside. Fever, fatigue and shivering are some common symptoms of this disease. If anyone feel above symptoms should consult to the doctors. #ไวรัสอู่ฮั่น #Coronavirus #ดูแลตัวเอง 😷 pic.twitter.com/vjwz4AjVbW— ·rugyim♡1485||| (@turtle_beam) January 21, 2020
Yuge Trump rally in Seattle 1/20/20 pic.twitter.com/Qk426zJIFn— ACAB🔥🔥🔥STUDIOS (@acabstudios) January 21, 2020
This was not a Trump rally, this was conservatives fighting for their rights! I'm sure he approved of it but he didn't arrange this mass demonstration! Trump has taught us to fight and when he is no longer in office we will take up the fight! pic.twitter.com/ARrNTbvSuE— Joyce Day (@Daytobehappy) January 21, 2020
* Timeline summaries at the top of the page come from a variety of sources:, including The American Journal of Managed Care COVID-19 Timeline (https://www.ajmc.com/view/a-timeline-of-covid19-developments-in-2020), the Just Security Group at the NYU School of Law (https://www.justsecurity.org/69650/timeline-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-and-u-s-response/), the “10 Things,” daily entries from The Week (theweek.com), as well as a variety of newspapers and television programs.