Coronavirus (COVID-19) Timeline of News - Historical

Selected news items related to COVID-19 outbreak as reported in the AskaPatient Weekly Newsletters between January 2020 and June 28, 2020; listed in reverse order of occurence.

NOTE: Because knowledge about the coronavirus has been fluid since January of 2020, some of the material on this page, while accurate as of the date listed, which is the date accessed, is no longer accurate, and some of the referenced pages have changed content completely (such as the first article referenced on the BBC web site). Therefore, these references should be considered "historical" news coverage of the novel coronavirus.


Week of June 21, 2020 On Thursday, June 25, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield and CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, Dr. Jay Butler presented the latest guidance on risk factors for COVID-19. They reviewed evidence related to various underlying conditions and determined whether there was strong, mixed, or limited evidence whether they were associated with increased risk of more severe illness, which may be measured by hospitalization, ICU admission, or death.  These are the underlying conditions they identified that put someone at greatest risk of becoming ill with COVID-19:
CDC List of Greatest Risk Factors Identified by CDC for COVID-19 -

CDC List of Underlying Conditions Most Likely to Worsen Severity of COVID-19 - 
*The CDC health officials said that pregnant patients with COVID-19 are not more likely to die from the disease, but they do have an increased risk of being hospitalized or having severe illness. 

Other topics covered during the press conference:
- Results from antibody test blood sampling suggests that between 5 percent and 8 percent of Americans have contracted the virus. Most people who contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus show few if any symptoms, and only a small percentage require hospitalization.

- The federal government has disbursed over $10 billion to states to augment their testing, contact tracing and isolation capability. The states' formal plans for the rest of the year are due July 10. States are looking at different strategies for contact tracing, including using state employees and AmeriCorps volunteers. State plans need to address the capacity to isolate or quarantine people under difficult circumstances, such as those living in group settings or those who are homeless.

- The CDC considers about 110, 120 counties in the U.S. to be COVID-19 hotspots, or areas having significant transmission. 

Complete transcript of the press conference:

Week of May 17, 2020

-  Because of confusing reports that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) appeared to be changing its position on how COVID-19 can spread, and downplaying the risk of surface transmission, the CDC issued a press release saying that it has not changed its position or guidance and had merely been trying to reword its web page to make it easier to understand. The CDC edited the page once again, making it clear that the primary way the virus is spread is through person-to-person contact, and that it is possible that it can be spread in other ways, such as from surfaces.
Press release:
Edited page:

- The microscopy unit of National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at Rocky Mountain Labs produces images of the world’s deadliest plagues: Ebola, HIV, salmonella and SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Kaiser Health News interviewed Elizabeth Fischer, who leads the microscopy team.

Side-by-Side Electron Microscope SARS-CoV-2

Electron microscope images are black-and-white; a visual artist colorizes them. This image depicts viral particles (blue) being released from a dying cell infected with the coronavirus. Image Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Hamilton, MT

- The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) has a photo gallery of electron microscope images of the novel coronavirus.

- A study by Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston) of multinational hospital outcomes data found no benefit, and worse cardiovascular outcomes, for COVID-19 patients given hydroxychloroquine therapy within 48 hours of diagnosis.

Antibody Tests: Quality problems
- A Mayo clinic-ABC News investigation found that many COVID-19 antibody tests fail quality standards. Mayo Clinic doctors in Arizona and Minnesota ran over 4,500 tests on both rapid result and slower, traditional lab antibody tests (a total of nineteen brands). Four of the tests received an A+ rating.

Vaccine News: Three vaccines advance to phase 2 testing
- U.S. vaccine maker Moderna announced that its NIH-funded test vaccine was able to stimulate an immune response against the COVID-19 infection and appeared to be safe. Critics would like to see the test data before celebrating, and call this "science by press release."  Moderna has no products on the market yet and utilizes a new genetic vaccine (mRNA) technology that requires two doses. The announcement was based only on results from eight people (45 total have participated) and took place at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. Moderna's Phase 2 testing will involve 600 volunteers.
An explanation of mRNA vaccine technology:

- Oxford University and AstraZeneca are launching a Phase 2 clinical trial of their coronavirus vaccine, with plans to recruit 10,000 volunteers in the U.K. and then 30,000 more in the U.S. in a Stage 3 clinical trial. The vaccine is based on a chimpanzee adenovirus (common cold virus) which has been genetically changed to stop COVID-19 from replicating in humans.The U.S. has backed this project with $1 billion, pre-ordering 300 million doses.

- Results from the first phase of a human vaccine trial by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology looks promising, according to a report published in the Lancet. This vaccine uses a weakened common cold virus (adenovirus) to deliver genetic material that codes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the cells. About half of the 108 participants already had some immunity to the adenovirus, which could reduce those particpants' immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Adenovirus - common cold

Image of an adenovirus from David S. Goodsell and the Education Portal of the RCSB Protein Data Bank.

Week of April 26


The U.S. FDA authorized emergency use of Gilead's investigational drug remdesivir for treating severe cases (where oxygen therapy is needed) of COVID-19. The drug is authorized to be administered by intravenous infusion in hospitals only. The approval was based on a government-sponsored clinical trial involving about 1,000 patients. There have been some questions raised as to why the primary clinical trial outcome measurement was changed while the trial was ongoing-- from how many patients were kept alive using the drug to how long it took surviving patients to recover. Remdesivir was found to reduce an average hospital stay from 15 days to 11 days.
FDA press release on remdesivir:

- Results from a 10-hospital study of remdesivir between February 6 and March 12, 2020 involving 237 patients with COVID-19 were published in The Lancet this week. Researchers reported that the drug was “not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits.” The study, conducted in Hubei China, was terminated on March 29 because of lack of new patient enrollment.

- While global demand for novel coronavirus tests soar, concerns are mounting that companies are shifting production away from tests for HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. The coronavirus tests are more lucrative for manufacturers; a COVID-19 test can fetch $10 compared with about 19 cents per test for a rapid malaria test.

COVID-19 and Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities
- In response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on residents and staff of long-term care facilities, the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) announced a new independent commission that will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

- California reported that 40% of the state's COVID-19 deaths were residents or staff at long-term care facilities. The Los Angeles Times reports that the percentage is likely higher. Similarly, New Jersey reported that while 1% of their population is in nursing homes, 40% of COVID-19 deaths are from nursing homes. In Europe, the share of COVID-19 deaths from long-term care facilities is also in this range, according to the World Health Organization.
New Jersey:
This chart with data from the California Department of Health, while from April 17, gives infection rates for more than 1,000 nursing homes in California. It shows a significant number of staff testing positive for COVID-19, which is leading to infections of residents of nursing homes:
The reported deaths may not include those that occurred after a resident was transferred to a hospital, a private home or other location, according to the Los Angeles Times.

- In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan announced mandatory COVID-19 testing of all residents and staff at all nursing homes. Some other states and cities are doing the same, including West Virginia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oklahoma. About 19% of infections and 48% of fatalities in Maryland are linked to nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

  - Confused about the different microbiology-related nomenclature related to the virus pandemic, including red blood cells, lymphocytes, white blood cells, bacteria, viruses, and cytokines? Here is a visual that shows the relative sizes of these and other microscopic parts. While you can view bacteria with a regular light microscope, viruses are ten times smaller and are best viewed with an electron microscope. Cytokines (a kind of protein triggered by immune response and other types of cells) are orders of magnitude smaller than viruses. Not included on the chart below are white blood cells (including lymphocytes), which are about twice as big as red blood cells.

Relative sizes of virus compared to bacteria cytokines and blood cells
Source: Concepts of Biology - 1st Canadian Edition by Charles Molnar and Jane Gair
(Creative commons attribution)

- How do blood pressure medications affect the outcomes of patients with Covid-19? Some evidence suggests that blood pressure medicines improve organ response and protect against the virus while other evidence suggests that the medications make things worse by enhancing the virus's destructive effects. A new study by Penn Medicine is trying to get a definitive answer. The study involves 152 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 taking two categories of blood pressure medications: ARBs and ACE inhibitors. Patients will be randomly assigned to either stop or continue taking their already prescribed medications, and progress will be carefully monitored.

- The variation in how the human body reacts to the novel coronavirus is baffling scientists and challenging conclusions that can be made about a person's immunity based on antibody tests. For example, some people with mild symptoms of COVID-19 who test positive using a PCR (respiratory test) and then recover may later on show few or no antibodies in an antibody test.  Does that mean they can be reinfected? Scientists don't know. Evidence from a report from South Korea suggests it is possible; health officials documented 91 patients who had recovered from the virus with a negative PCR test but who subsequently tested positive for the virus.

- A troubling case study of two elderly twin sisters' experience in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as they socially isolated in their apartments: the fear of contracting the virus was overwhelming to the point of paranoia. One of the sister's hands were worn and dry from constant washing and her family worried about her excessive cleaning regimen. She would avoid contact with dishware, and lost weight because she was not getting needed nourishment.

Coronavirus Advisories and Warnings

3-29-2020 - In a statement issued on Saturday, the CDC urged residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.
3-29-2020 - The FDA is helping facilitate veterinary telemedicine during the coronavirus pandemic for some situations that would normally require in-person examinations.

3-29-2020 - FDA is informing health care providers and patients of the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus by the use of fecal microbiota for transplantation (FMT). This is a new treatment that is used for C. difficile infection in patients that have not responded to standard therapies.

3-29-2020 - Many pregnant women have health concerns during this COVID-19 outbreak. It appears that it is possible for the virus to be transferred to the fetus if the mother becomes infected. In one report from China, 3 out of 33 pregnant women with the virus transferred it to their babies, but all three babies survived.

Coronavirus Supplies and Testing
3-29-2020 - The FDA issued an emergency use authorization of ventilators for patients and protective respirators for hospital caregivers -- both of which are in short supply at hospitals. In addition, General Motors will begin manufacturing ventilators under orders allowed by the Defense Protection Act. The American Hospital Association issued a statement regarding the situation.
Hospital Ventilator Illustration
Image source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

To learn more about ventilators, including why they are used, the risks of being on one, and how they work, check out this series of questions and answers at the NHLBI.

3-29-2020 - The number of companies planning to produce COVID-19 diagnostic tests continues to grow. The FDA has received application notifications from 190 test developers, and 16 emergency use authorizations have been issued for nation-wide use. Also, more than 100 laboratories have submitted notification of lab-developed tests. This page at FDA has information both for consumers and industry about diagnostic testing for COVID-19:

Coronavirus Trials and Treatments
3-29-2020 - National Institutes of Health began clinical trial in Nebraska testing remdesivir for potential treatment of Covid-19.

3-29-2020 - The Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo is leading a trial with other Brazilian hospitals to test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin on patients with COVID-19.

3-29-2020 - The U.S. FDA is permitting emergency investigational use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. New York Blood Center has started collecting donations.

3-29-2020 - A small study published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that the functioning of the lungs improve when the COVID-19 patient is face down (prone) position.
Coronavirus Discoveries and Predictions
3-29-2020 - In a study by Yale University, researchers found that half of the patients they treated for mild COVID-19 infection still had coronavirus for up to eight days after symptoms disappeared. Researchers say severe infections may have even longer shedding times.

3-29-2020 - Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said at a White House press conference that a seasonal cycle to the pandemic is possible, and that warm weather could ease the pandemic in parts of North America and Europe, but that it could reemerge later. A team at University of Utah is working on studying how inactive novel coronavirus particles respond to various environmental conditions.

3-29-2020 - Viruses are strange things – they exist not as living cells but as zombie-like pathogens that have even remained viable in permafrost for thousands of years. When the virus gets into a host, such as the human airway, it can highjack cells and replicate itself millions of times within a matter of hours. Read more about the science of the SARS-COV-2 virus.

3-29-2020 - Peter Thielen, a molecular geneticist at Johns Hopkins University who has been studying the SARS-COV-2 virus, says that because of  its slow mutation rate, an eventual vaccine will most likely consist of a single shot (like vaccines for chickenpox or measles) rather than a yearly shot like we have to protect against the ever-changing influenza viruses. Two other virologists, who were on the international committee that named the novel coronavirus COVID-19, concurred that the virus appears relatively stable, and that it has not mutated significantly since first being identified in patients in China late last year.

Coronavirus: New Cases and Stats
3-29-2020 - Yet another cruise ship with sick passengers is stuck at sea with nowhere to dock. Holland America's "The Zaandam" has 138 sick people out of 1,829 on board, and 4 passengers have died. Passengers have been confined to their rooms since March 22, when the first patients began to experience symptoms. Healthy patients (without symptoms) were transferred to "The Rotterdam."  Both ships plan to pass through the Panama Canal and head to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There are around 12 cruise ships still at sea around the world, most of which have no cases of sickness.

3-29-2020 - Check out these graphics picked by Visual Capitalist as the "7 Best Covid-19 Resources." Includes Coronavirus Simulator: Limiting the Exponential Spread; The History of Pandemics, and more.

3-29-2020 - According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of March 27 there were 571,678 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 62,514 new cases occurring in the most recent day. The U.S. now has the most number of cases in the world, surpassing Italy's numbers.
World Health Organization (WHO) dashboard

3-29-2020 - More than 124,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., with 2,109 deaths, as of March 29 at 9:00 AM EST, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus dashboard. Also for the same time, the dashboard reports 681,706 cases worldwide. (The smaller number of worldwide cases reported by WHO is likely due to "case" definition, sources of reporting, and lags in reporting times.)

3-29-2020 Here is a breakdown of states with more than 2,000 confirmed cases as of March 29 9:00 AM EST. New York has the most number of cases by far, with New York City having more than half (over 30,000) of that state's cases.
Link to real-time Johns Hopkins Coronavirus dashboard.

Number of Confirmed Cases
of COVID-19 by State

as reported March 29, 2020 Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Dashboard for states with
more than 2,000 cases (9:00 AM EST)

53,520  New York 
11,124  New Jersey 
5,648    California 
4,659    Michigan 
4,311    Washington 
4,257    Massachusetts 
4,038    Florida 
3,498    Illinois 
3,315    Louisiana 
2,909    Pennsylvania 
2,534    Texas 
2,446    Georgia 
2,063    Colorado 


3-22-2020 - The FDA approved the first point-of-care diagnostic for COVID-19; the test will provide results within hours rather than in days; product roll-out is expected by March 30.

3-22-2020- The World Health Organization (WHO) is compiling a database of scientific research related to COVID-19 disease. Scroll down to the middle of the page to search by author or key word, or journal.

3-22-2020- A study published this week in Pediatrics reports that children with COVID-19 tend to have milder symptoms than those experienced by adults, although infants and toddlers tend to have more severe symptoms than older children.
Pediatrics journal article pdf

3-22-2020- Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the world's preoccupation with coronavirus by attacking systems, using ransomware, email scams, and social engineering messages. Oddly, two criminal outfits have "pledged" to scale back their attacks, at least for hospitals, according to Forbes.

3-22-2020- According to the FBI, online criminals from outside the U.S. are ramping up scams and attacks in states with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections: California, New York and Washington.

3-22-2020- The FDA warned consumers that no at-home diagnostic tests for the coronavirus have been approved, and to be aware that some fraudulent COVID-19 tests are being marketed.

3-22-2020 - HHS (Health and Human Services) announced it was relaxing HIPPA privacy rules to allow for more telemedicine and health device apps use during this period of "social distancing." Patients should be careful about what platforms are used, the security of devices on both ends, and know whether sessions are being streamed vs. being recorded. Some reasons "why you shouldn't just skype your therapist:"

3-22-2020 - Despite the growing consensus among governors and big city mayors for school closures, the decisions appear at odds with guidance issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and some public health experts are questioning whether the widespread closures make sense.

Treatment News for COVID-19
3-22-2020 - A Phase 1 clinical trial for an investigational vaccine to protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle.

3-22-2020 - Several medications are being studied as potential "repurposed" treatments for coronavirus. They are listed in the chart below. In addition, researchers are in the beginning stages of investigating new preventative treatments derived from monoclonal antibodies. A new survey by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) reveals 35 active drug development programs in North America, Europe, and China.

3-22-2020 - Various companies are donating drugs that might help in the fight against the coronavirus. Novartis said it will donate the drug hydroxychloroquine if it wins approval for treating COVID-19. A 1,500-person clinical trial, led by the University of Minnesota, is being launched to study whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of COVID-19.

3-22-2020 - Supplies of two antimalarial drugs (hydroxycholoroquine - brand name Plaquenil and chloroquine - brand name Aralen) are being depleted as doctors and hospitals prescribe them off-label for treating or preventing COVID-19.

3-22-2020 - Other types of shortages reported across the U.S. and worldwide include hospital supplies like masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, blood donations (due to cancellations of blood drives), and more.

3-22-2020 - News circulated around the world that ibuprofen can make COVID-19 symptoms worse, but the European Union, the U.S. FDA, and the WHO recently stated that there is no evidence of that effect.

Weekly Stats:
3-22-2020 - The cases continue to grow: more than 33,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S, with 417 deaths, as of March 22, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus dashboard. There are 335,972 cases worldwide according to the
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus dashboard.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports a smaller numbers of cases, but that is likely due to "case" definition. For example, on the Johns Hopkins database, "confirmed cases" include "presumptive positive" cases.

3.15.2020 - On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially called the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, and Europe is now the epicenter while new cases in China continue to decline.

March 14 situation report from the World Health Organization:

3.15.2020 - With many schools and workplaces shutting down in hopes of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, some wonder if these "social distancing" measures are too extreme. The idea behind it is that peak cases will be reduced during the disease outbreak, resulting in a "flattening of the curve." This article from Vox provides 9 charts that explain various aspects of the coronavirus outbreak. One chart lists percentage of patients experiencing each of the 12 most common symptoms of the illness, based on data from 55,000 patients in China. Here are the top three: 1: fever ( 88%) 2. Dry cough (68%) 3. fatigue (38%).

3.15.2020 - A Johns Hopkins University analysis of publicly available data showed that about 97% of people who develop symptoms of Covid-19 will do so within 11.5 days of exposure, with the median time being 5.1 days. This suggests that the 14-day quarantine period for people with likely exposure is a reasonable one.

3.15.2020 - In order to increase the availability of diagnostic tests for novel coronavirus, the U.S. FDA is giving the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) authority to approve new diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Also, the FDA authorized a new diagnostic test for COVID-19 that was developed by Roche. It is the third Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted for a diagnostic test during the COVID-19 outbreak.

3.15.2020  - If the COVID-19 illness progresses beyond the initial fever and cough symptoms, it will turn into pneumonia in both lungs and lead to respiratory failure. This makes people wonder: could the pneumonia vaccine provide protection from developing pneumonia from the virus? Experts say no, although it could protect you from getting a secondary kind of pneumonia. A doctor discusses the pneumonia vaccine as it relates to COVID-19.

3.08.2020 It is estimated that between 11% and 21% of the world's population contracted the H1-N1 virus in 2009-2010; there were so many cases that midway through the pandemic, the CDC and the WHO stopped keeping track of the number of cases. This article compares major viruses since 1967:

3.08.2020 - The European Union met this week to discuss joint procurement of face masks and other protective gear on behalf of 20 EU states. EU members tried unsuccessfully to convince some of the member countries to lift their bans on exporting the supplies. Germany and some others said the export ban could be revised if an overall EU ban was introduced on sales to non-EU states.

3.08.2020 - In the U.S., nineteen states have reported cases of COVID-19.  The Centers for Disease Control updates a map each day showing number of cases by state.

3.08.2020 March 8 situation report from the World Health Organization:

3.08.2020 The FDA said it is shipping 2 million testing kits to labs by Monday with more to be shipped by the end of next week.

3.08.2020 - Another cruise ship has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and is scheduled to disembark more than 3,000 passengers in Oakland, California on Monday. So far, 19 crew and 2 passengers of the Grand Princess have tested positive for the virus. Passengers will be tested and in some cases quarantined, at facilities in the U.S. The Diamond Princess was the first cruise ship to be affected by the virus, and its quarantine-at-sea off the coast of Japan resulted in many people contracting the virus while on-board in quarantine.

3.08.2020 - Health officials told Congress that they believe that the novel coronavirus case fatality rate in the U.S. will likely be in the range of .10 to 1 percent, closer in lethality to pandemic influenza, and much lower than the rate reported in China and significantly lower than the WHO fatality percentage.This is because the official WHO numbers represent the number of confirmed deaths as a fraction of the number of confirmed cases; many cases do not get tested and confirmed.

3.01.2020 - In response to travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stopped on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities in China. Instead, they will rely on paper records “in advance or in lieu of” the inspections. In addition, the FDA says it will continue work with Customs and Border Protection to target violating products.

3.01.2020 - At this week's congressional hearing on the COVID-19 outbreak, questions were asked about active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturers in China. Our analysis in November showed there were 376 FDA-registered API manufacturing establishments in China, representing 19% of all such facilities supplying the U.S. with active pharmaceutical ingredients. As of 2018, only 22 FDA inspectors were located in China.

3.01.2020 - In order to expedite testing capacity for identifying new cases of novel coronavirus, the U.S. FDA is relaxing approval requirements for tests and will allow some laboratories to immediately use tests they have developed and validated. 

3.01.2020 - Check out this interactive tool from Johns Hopkins University. It reports that the countries outside of China with the most cases are Korea (3,526 cases) and Italy (1,128 cases) as of March 1, 2020. Total cases worldwide are reported as 87,472. The World Health Organization reports that the number of confirmed cases in Hubei province, China, has increased for two successive days after a period of decline. 84% of China's 79,968 confirmed cases and 96% of China's 2,761 deaths have been in the Hubei province. The Worldometer web site has slightly higher numbers for most countries, and reports 88,346 cases worldwide as of March 01, 2020, 20:35 GMT. Johns Hopkins Coronavirus tool
World Health Organization Situation Report

3.01.2020 - The transmission electron microscope image below shows the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.
Electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 virus
Source: National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases

2.23.2020 - This week, the Japanese government announced it will begin clinical trials testing HIV drugs to treat the new coronavirus. Drugs are chosen for testing that may treat a number of RNA viruses, which include viruses that cause Ebola, hepatitis C, and SARS, HIV, and the new coronavirus.

2.23.2020 - China has a critical shortage of doctors, with the situation especially dire during this coronavirus epidemic, according to health officials. Doctors there say that many trained medical students do not go on to practice medicine, instead they often opt for better pay and working conditions at pharmaceutical companies or other employers.

2.23.2020 - There are currently 78,993 confirmed cases and 2,470 deaths from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak as of February 23, 2020, 18:41 GMT. (Worldometer links). Experts do not agree on whether the epidemic is headed to "pandemic" status, in which there are self-sustaining lines of infection in multiple countries and continents. An official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that it's possible, "even likely" that community spread may eventually happen.

2.23.2020 - A good source for questions and answers on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) web site is intended for health care professionals but is also interesting for consumers to read. It answers questions such as what treatments are available, whether you have immunity once you recover from the disease, and if your pet is vulnerable.

2.23.2020 - The death toll from the Coronavirus outbreak, over 800, now surpasses the number of deaths from the SARS virus. However, the number of new infection cases on Saturday, February 8 represented the first daily drop since Feb. 1, falling below 3,000 to 2,656 cases. Experts say it is too early to determine if the disease is now peaking. The Worldometer web site reports 40,533 confirmed cases and 909 deaths attributed to the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus outbreak as of February 10, 2020, 00:15 GMT.

2.09.2020 - The "Worldometer" live update web site provides almost real-time data on the number of cases by country and other important facts about the Wuhan-originating novel Coronavirus. For example, the virus has now spread to 27 countries and territories worldwide, with 17,387 confirmed cases and 361 deaths as of February 3, 2020, 02:00 GMT. There has been a rapid spike in the number of cases: just one week ago on January 26, there were just 2,801 confirmed cases worldwide. On Thursday, January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak to be a Global Public Health Emergency.

2.09.2020 - China instituted the largest quarantine in human history, locking down more than 50 million people in the center of the country. Those who are residents of Wuhan or recent visitors are feeling the stigma, as they are monitored, turned away from hotels and placed into isolation at their homes or in makeshift quarantine facilities.

1.19.2020 - An alarming outbreak of mysterious viral pneumonia  in central China has been linked to a 1,000-stall food market in Wuhan. The market, now quarantined for cleaning, sold seafood and wild animals like marmots, deer, and venomous snakes. While the virus can cause severe illness, it does not transmit readily between people, according to Chinese authorities. (note that the BBC web site has removed this article, accessed on January 19.)


For an up-to-date list of patient-friendly resources on the coronavirus, check out our Patient Guide to Coronavirus Websites.