My Little Soapbox
How Did This Happen?
2018-03-16 (Last Update: Wed, 25 Mar 2020) Mikeal Segotta 0 Uncategorized
On New Year's Eve 2019, I think most all of us were mostly unalarmed, if not unaware, of the health crisis that had quietly begun in Wuhan, China. That day, multiple cases of pneumonia are reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the following day, Chinese authorities close the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market believing wild animals sold there may be the source of the virus believed responsible for the illness. In the United States, the headlines are dominated by stories of protesters outside our Embassy in Iran and the looming trial of our impeached President, Donald J. Trump.
On January 9, 2020, according to Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, a 61-year-old man died of respiratory failure after being exposed to the virus at the seafood market. Officially, he is the first death caused by the virus, 2019-nCoV, as it had been initially named by the WHO just days before.
News coverage had begun to increase by the second week of the new year but most reports were brief and seemed to focus most on the apparent "jump" the virus seemed to have made from animals to humans. Cases reported in both Thailand and Japan were in men who had recently returned from Wuhan so as Chinese authorities were reporting only the second official death from Covid-19, the United States implements health screenings at airports in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles on January 17.
Just three days later on January 20, 2020, China reports 139 new cases of the illness as well as the third death. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announces preliminary steps have been taken in the development of a vaccine.
On January 21, the first case in the United States is reported by the Centers for Disease Control in a suburb of Seattle, Washington when a man in his 30's, having recently traveled around the Wuhan province was hospitalized for pneumonia and later tested by the CDC. Chinese officials report a death toll of 17 and at least 547 confirmed cases in mainland China and close the Wuhan airport and rail stations to all departures on January 22.
At an emergency committee meeting on the following day, the WHO announces the Wuhan Coronavirus does not yet constitute a public health emergency of International Concern. Despite this, Lunar New Year gatherings are canceled across much of China and the China Association of Travel Services cancel all tours. Chinese authorities begin to enforce lockdowns, restricting both inbound and outbound travel from Wuhan and two neighboring cities.
On January 30, 2020, the United States reports its first confirmed case of "Community Spread" of the Wuhan Coronavirus, also in the State of Washington. The Trump Administration orders a ban on allowing foreign nationals having traveled through China in the last 14 days.
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