Concern Increasing
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Concern Increasing

As of March 4th, 2020, The New York Times reported that the outbreak of the coronavirus has left tens of thousands sickened and more than 3,000 people dead. Officials have declared it a global health emergency. The coronavirus has spread to more than 70 countries, killing more than 3,000 and sickening tens of thousands of people in a matter of weeks. The World Health Organization has declared the situation a global health emergency.

Here’s a timeline of the outbreak so far compiled by The New York Times.

  • On Dec. 31, the government in Wuhan, China, confirmed that health authorities were treating dozens of cases. Days later, researchers in China identified a new virus that had infected dozens of people in Asia.

  • On Jan. 11, Chinese state media reported the first known death from an illness caused by the virus, which had infected dozens of people.

  • The first confirmed cases outside mainland China occurred in Japan, South Korea and Thailand. The first confirmed case in the United States came the next day in Washington State.

  • Jan. 23, Chinese authorities canceled planes and trains leaving Wuhan, and suspended buses, subways and ferries. At that point, at least 17 people had died and more than 570 others had been infected, including in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the United States.

  • Jan. 30, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared a "public health emergency of international concern" was officially declared amid thousands of new cases in China and our State Department warned against traveling to China.

  • Jan. 31, Trump administration said it would suspend entry into the U.S. by any foreign nationals who had traveled to China in the last 14 days, excluding the immediate family members of American citizens or permanent residents. By this date, 213 people had died and nearly 9,800 had been infected worldwide.

  • Feb. 2, the 1st coronavirus death outside of China (Philippines). By this point, the more than 360 people had died.

  • Feb. 5, cruise ship in Japan quarantined more than 3,600 passengers on the Diamond Princess. Screening began on the ship and a number of people tested positive (the largest number of cases outside of China). By Feb. 13, the number stood at 218.

  • Feb. 7, Chinese doctor who tried to raise the alarm died.

  • Feb. 10, death toll in China surpassed the number people killed by the 2002-3 SARS epidemic worldwide (774), with China's death toll at 908.

  • Feb. 13, more than 14,840 new cases announced in Hubei Province in central China.

  • Feb. 14, France announces the first coronavirus death in Europe (4th death outside of mainland China), a Chinese tourist.

  • Feb. 19, after a two-week quarantine, 443 passengers began leaving the Diamond Princess. A total of 621 people had been infected. Iran announced two coronavirus cases in the country; hours later, both patients had died. Source of the virus in Iran was unknown, and by Feb. 20, the number of global cases had risen to nearly 76,000.

  • Feb. 21, a church in South Korea is linked to a surge in infections (confirmed cases in the country rose above 200, and more than 400 other church members reported potential symptoms).

  • Feb. 23, Italy sees major surge in coronavirus cases. Europe's first major outbreak as the number of reported cases in Italy grew to more than 150.

  • Feb. 24, Trump administration began preparing for the virus to arrive in the United States by asking Congress to allocate $1.25 billion in new emergency funds. At this point, Centers for Disease Control officials warned of an almost certain outbreak, with 35 confirmed cases, but no deaths. Iran also emerged as a second focus point of the virus, with 61 cases and 12 deaths, more than any other country outside of China. Cases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and one in Canada, had been traced back to Iran.

  • Feb. 26, Brazilian businessman tested positive for the virus, the first known case in Latin America.

  • Feb. 28, the number of infections in Europe spike. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, confirmed its first case.

  • Feb. 29, the U.S. records its first coronavirus death near Seattle.

  • March 3, U.S. officials approve widespread coronavirus testing and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) lifted all federal restrictions on testing for the coronavirus.

Given this timeline of the coronavirus' rapid spread, we can readily understand why healthcare professionals worldwide are concerned.