Feb 25: The Army’s medical intelligence center raises its warning that the coronavirus would become a pandemic within 30 days from WATCHCON 2 — a probable crisis — to WATCHCON 1 — an imminent crisis. The warning is provided in an intelligence briefing to the Joint Chiefs of Staff two days later. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in prepared remarks, states that the outbreak is inevitable and may lead to severe disruption to everyday life. HHS Secretary Alex Azar seeks to quell concerns following Messonnier’s comments . He says the disease is “contained.” Larry Kudlow, the President’s National Economic Council Director is asked about Dr. Messonnier’s comments. He tells CNBC, “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight.” “I don’t think it’s going to be an economic tragedy at all,” he adds. Kudlow privately delivers a more ambiguous forecast of the situation to board members of the Hoover Institution. William Callanan — a member of the Hoover board of overseers and major hedge fund consultant — circulates a memo to hedge fund founders, senior business owners, and wealthy private investors warning that the spread of the virus may be more serious than what the White House is reporting publicly and that the nation’s health agencies appear unprepared. Chad Wolf at the Department of Homeland Security says that the new virus has the same mortality rate as the flu. U.S. stocks plunge for a second straight day, capping their worst two-day loss since 2008.*
What is the public supposed to do? Medical authorites keep saying just wash our hands and stop touching our faces. Is that it? Masks? We’re not supposed to buy them because healthcare workers need them.
It is no wonder that the messaging has been so chaotic. In 2018, the current administration got rid of its pandemic response organization, including the White House management infrastructure and the NSC’s entire global health security unit. They reduced $15 billion in health spending. They cut the global disease-fighting operational budgets of the CDC, DHS, and HHS. They even eliminated the Complex Crises Fund. This was part of the GOP scaling back of government services they deemed unnecessary. And perhaps it was. But now …?
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Beginning to think the Trump administration’s approach to #COVID2019 is literally “ride or die.” https://t.co/8Uzzk44bET— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) February 26, 2020
Too little too late.That President Trump is trying to steal funds dedicated to fight Ebola is indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the Coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be.https://t.co/YiwaoMgZmz — Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 25, 2020
Trump says coronavirus ‘under control’ in US, problem going to ‘go away’ – if only he would go away. His fear of losing reelection based on a global economy reeling from #coronavirus trumps his judgment on what is actually happening here. https://t.co/C85RZfFJnG— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) February 25, 2020
It's one thing to miss a stat off-the-cuff. It's another thing to swing and miss at this magnitude. Communicating to the public that coronavirus is an order of magnitude more deadly than the flu is vital information. https://t.co/nyKEgP89K7— David French (@DavidAFrench) February 25, 2020
Rush Limbaugh says media hopes coronavirus “wipes everybody out so they could blame Trump” https://t.co/HXkgHVVo2X— Newsweek (@Newsweek) February 25, 2020
🚨BREAKING: Health officials say the spread of #coronavirus in the U.S. is “inevitable.”“It’s not a question of if this will happen, but WHEN…and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses.” As I’ve been warning.@thespybrief #COVID19https://t.co/VWqpZVgOGM — Dena Grayson, MD, PhD (@DrDenaGrayson) February 25, 2020
Coronavirus seems scary, good thing we don’t have a healthcare system that literally disincentivizes care with onerous copays and deductibles pic.twitter.com/WCN3jFDZuu— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) February 25, 2020
“You’re the secretary. I think you oughta know that answer” — Even @SenJohnKennedy (R) is fed up with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s ignorance about coronavirus pic.twitter.com/yx1anMAAFV— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 25, 2020
@BernieSanders is this your idea of america?!? If it is I ain’t voting for your ass #trumptrain #maga #kag2020 pic.twitter.com/45aUfSXMG0— democratkilla (@democratkilla1) February 25, 2020
Two percent of people who get #COVIDー19 #Coronavirus die from it. Less than the flu. Yes it is an issue but not as major an issue as the media is making it.— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) February 25, 2020
ACOSTA: "Mr. President, our record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours."— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) February 25, 2020
TRUMP: "Let me tell you about your record… You have the worst record in the history of broadcasting.” https://t.co/hg6tubBKow
* 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.