A Covid Timeline
In September 1943, the US Army created a secret biowarfare program,“Operation Capricious,” against insect pests enemy nations might use on America, under the direction of George W. Merck, president of Merck & Co. The program stockpiled bacillus anthracis (anthrax), clostridium botulinum (botulism), and other deadly bacteria until President Truman approved and operationalized its use by the U.S. military, in 1951, on North Korea and China where it proved ineffectual.
On March 15, 1976 President Ford, after an outbreak of Swine Flu A, authorized an immunization program. Once pharmaceutical companies were guaranteed a profit and legal indemnity, they produced a vaccine, but Guillain-Barré syndrome affected vaccinated patients and the program was abandoned.
On March 18, 2008, the media implied that a former government scientist, Dr. Steven Hatfill, had released an anthrax strain developed by the US Army and long-time Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote, “I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip came in a roundabout way from a high government official. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.”
In 2009, H1N1, Swine Flu, a novel virus with a combination of influenza genes previously unseen in animals or people, spread quickly from the US across the world, killing 284,000. Glaxo Smith Kline’s H1N1 vaccine, Pandemrix, caused narcolepsy and cataplexy–incurable, lifelong conditions requiring extensive medication–in thousands of vaccinated children. H1N1 still circulates as a seasonal flu, causing hospitalizations and deaths.
Throughout 2015, the determination of two hundred US biosafety level 3 and 4 labs working with dangerous pathogens to keep their safety records secret stirred nationwide controversy:Lab-Made Coronavirus Triggers Debate; Baric lab: Circulating bat coronaviruses and the risk of SARS re-emergence; New SARS-like Virus Can Jump Directly From Bats to Humans, No Treatment Available.
In 2016, researchers began issuing public warnings like, “SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence”. In February, 2018, H7N4 bird flu sickened 1,600 Chinese and killed 600. Despite this, the White House dissolved the US Pandemic Response Team.
May 2, 2019 The chemical and biological defense unit of USA Defense Fort Detrick, MD, bids to develop SARS and MERS virus detectors.
June 14. CDC finds the US Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, MD, non-compliant with its pathogen control agreement.
June 30. Unidentified pneumonia in Springfield, VA nursing home kills two and sickens dozens.
July 12: Three dead, 54 sickened in respiratory outbreak at Springfield, VA care home, one hour from Fort Detrick. Since respiratory illness usually spreads in winter, officials can neither explain the number of cases nor its seasonality.
Jul 14. Chinese researcher escorted from Canadian infectious disease lab by RCMP for sending biological samples to China.
July 17. Still-unexplained pneumonia epidemic reported at a Burke, VA nursing home, one hour from Fort Detrick, MD.
July 26. VA State stops all nursing home collective activities, screens residents, and mandates cleanliness measures to prevent the spread of pneumonia epidemic.
August 4. First case of EVALI (vaping) reported to CDC. Shortness of breath, pain in breathing, cough, fever, chills, nausea, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, ground glass lung CT scan. 2,807 EVALI cases and 68 deaths recorded by Feb 18, 2020. No cases reported outside the US.
October 3. Doctors studying EVALI lung tissue rule out vaping, deepening the mystery over the cause of uniquely American illness.
October 3. US Army team arrives in Wuhan for Military Games.
Oct. 18. CIADeputy Director participates in Event 201, Gates Foundation pandemic exercise modeling a fictional coronavirus pandemic.
November 12. A couple from Inner Mongolia is admitted to Beijing hospital with pneumonic plague. Says physician Li Jifeng: “I am very familiar with diagnosing and treating the majority of respiratory diseases but I could not figure out what pathogen caused this pneumonia.”
Nov. 15. CDC advertises for quarantine managers in all major cities:
December. 5. FBI arrests Chinese medical researcher taking biological samples to China. His labmates succeed in taking specimens to Beijing.
December 12. Moderna transfers potential coronavirus vaccine candidates to the University of North Carolina, nineteen days prior to the official emergence of Covid-19 pandemic. The transfer was signed by Ralph Baric, PhD and Jacqueline Quay at UNC Chapel Hill.
Dec 17. South Korean coronavirus exercise was ‘blind luck’: a hypothetical South Korean family contracts pneumonia after a trip to China, where cases of an unidentified disease had arisen. It quickly spreads to colleagues and medical workers. Experts develop tests, algorithms to find the pathogen and its origin.
Dec. 17. Oxford University and the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center start a Phase I clinical trial of a MERS vaccine candidate using the ChAdOx1 platform they later used for COVID-19. It was so successful that their 1090 person Phase I/II COVID-19 trial only used one dose,instead of three.
Dec 27. Wuhan’s Dr. Zhang Jixian detects & reports suspicious cases of a ‘pneumonia of unknown origin’ to CCDC. Three more patients arrive, all related to Huanan Seafood Market.
Dec. 30. Wuhan Municipal Health Committee issues notice of an unknown viral illness.
Dec 31. A team from Beijing investigates, informs the WHO of “cases of pneumonia unknown etiology.” Since no medical worker was infected, they find no evidence of human-to-human transmission, and verify this on January 4. Wuhan announces the virus on CCTV and CGTN.
Jan. 1. Huanan Seafood market shut down.
January 2. WHO incident management system activated across WHO country office, regional office, and headquarters.
Jan. 3. Dr. Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), phones the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield to warn him of the virus.
January 4. WHO reports that Chinese authorities had informed it of “a cluster of pneumonia cases, with no deaths, in Wuhan”.
January 5, WHO’s Disease Outbreak News: “There is limited information to determine the overall risk of this reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology. The symptoms reported among the patients are common to several respiratory diseases, and pneumonia is common in the winter season; however, the occurrence of 44 cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization clustered in space and time should be handled prudently.”
Jan 8 ‘Unknown cause’ identified as a novel coronavirus.
Jan. 3. China reports 44 suspected patients with the mystery pneumonia, classifies it as highly pathogenic, orders all labs without high pathogen licenses to destroy or transfer samples to secure labs.
Jan. 9. Chinese labs begin genetic sequencing of the virus. China reports the death of an infected 61-year-old male in Wuhan with several underlying medical conditions.
Jan. 9. Chinese officials announce 44 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.
Jan 11. Beijing uploads the genetic sequence of the coronavirus to an international database and distributes preliminary test kits in Wuhan.
Jan 13. Germany develops a test and test protocol.
Jan 17. WHO adopts refined version of German test and protocol.
Jan 15. Wuhan Health Commission: “Although significant evidence confirming human-to-human transmission has yet to be found, the possibility cannot be ruled out.”
Jan 16. President Trump evacuates Americans from Wuhan and bars entry to the US.
Jan 18. HHS begins six-month Crimson Contagion scenario of a respiratory virus pandemic that begins in China and quickly spreads around the world.
January 20. Respiratory disease expert, Zhong Nanshan, announces the first verified human-to-human transmission.
January 21. China’s National Health Commission reports that the novel coronavirus is a Class B infectious disease and that Class A methods of prevention must be adopted. Chinese epidemiologists publish first Covid-19 paper, A Novel Coronavirus Genome Identified in a Cluster of Pneumonia Cases. Wuhan, China 2019-2020. CCDC Weekly.
Jan 20-21. WHO Field Team Visits Wuhan. "We were at the hospital where the first patient was identified in the last week of December, 2019. We met with staff there, and with one of the earliest known patients". Team leader Peter Ben Embarek calls the visit "very informative."
January 22. Wuhan native Scott Liu, 56, caught the last commercial flight out, to New York.
Jan. 24. Following private briefings on COVID-19, five US senators sell major stock holdings, avoiding significant losses before markets fall.
Jan. 24. Slate: “Many of China’s actions to date are overly aggressive and ineffective in quelling the outbreak.” LA Times: “China boasts of ‘people’s war’ against coronavirus, but Wuhan residents see shoddy propaganda”.
Jan. 26 – First clinical cases published in The Lancet: “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the seafood marketplace". Daniel Lucey, infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University: "If the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019—if not earlier—because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace.”
Jan. 27. WHO's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns against “unnecessarily interfering with international travel and trade” in trying to halt the spread of coronavirus. China bans citizens from reserving overseas tours.
Jan 29. WHO rejects accusations that China was responsible for the global spread of COVID-19: “[China’s] actions helped prevent the spread of coronavirus to other countries.”
Jan. 30: With 82 cases outside China and zero deaths, WHO declares Covid-19 a global health emergency.
Jan. 30. US State and Federal officials refuse permission for U. Washington infectious disease expert, Dr. Chu, to use ongoing flu tests to monitor for coronavirus.
Jan. 30.NYT: “The fallout from the virus in China will accelerate the return of jobs to North America, with millions at the time placed under lockdown in Wuhan and elsewhere”. The Guardian: “Coronavirus deals China's economy a bigger blow than global financial crisis”.
Feb. 3. US CDC rejects WHO tests, ships its own test kits.
Feb 4. 57 personnel arrive at a Nebraska military base from Wuhan. Infectious disease specialist Dr. James Lawler asks to test them. “The CDC does not approve this study. Please discontinue all contact with the travelers for research purposes.”
Feb. 15. CDC recalls its flawed test kits.
February 20. A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019. By the China Novel Coronavirus Investigating and Research Team. NEJM 2020.
Feb. 25. Against CDC instructions, UW’s Dr. Chu gets an immediate Covid-19 test result dating from January 28. By then, the virus had contributed to two deaths and would soon kill twenty more. “It must have been here this entire time. It’s just everywhere already,” Dr. Chu recalls thinking.
March 4. US ignores international investigators’ repeated requests for EVALI (vaping) postmortem lung tissue samples.
March 9. The White House orders federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, hampering response to the contagion.
Mar. 11. US tests 5,000 people suspected of Covid-19 infection.
Mar 12. White House classifies scope of infections, quarantines, and travel restrictions. Moves discussions to Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility, SCIF, “It has something to do with China.” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testifies that some early fatalities attributed to flu ‘have been attributed to C-19 after post-mortem analysis’.
March 12. Chinese FM spokesman Zhao Lijian: “When did patient zero begin in the US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make your data public! The US owes the world an explanation”.
March 15. Santa Clara, CA, reports 114 infections. 52 had no travel or contact with known cases, indicating local acquisition.
March 17. American, British, and Australian virologists: “We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible…. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”.
March 19. The US sees the sharpest increase in deaths and new infections per day of any country in the world. US doctors exhaust supply of N95 masks.
20 Mar. White House websitepetition, above.
March 20. US State Department cables all officials: “Chinese Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Beijing had a special responsibility to inform the Chinese people and the threat world since they were the first to learn of it. Instead, the... government hid news of the virus from its people for weeks, while suppressing information and punishing doctors and journalists who raised the alarm. The Party cared more about its reputation than its own people’s suffering”. Says one official, “These talking points are all anyone is really talking about right now. Everything is about China. We’re being told to try and get this messaging out in any way possible, including press conferences and television appearances.”
Mar 21. Oxford University's Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease Group says Covid-19 reached the UK no later than mid-January and may have infected half the population by March 21.
March 24. Covid samples taken from Italian patients in Sept-Nov. 2019 prove genetically distinct from China’s strain. Prof. Massimo Galli, at the University of Milan, describes ‘a very strange pneumonia” circulating in Europe in 2019.
April 16. Peter Daszak, disease ecologist, "I’ve been working with that [Wuhan] lab for 15 years. And the samples were collected by me and others in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues; they’re some of the world’s best scientists. There was no viral isolate in the lab and no cultured virus that’s anything related to SARS coronavirus 2. So it’s just not possible."
April 17. Chris Cuomo says, “Cristina believes that at least two of the kids had it in the last few months. It’s atypically long-duration sinus, fever, lethargy. I think we’re going to learn that coronavirus has been in this country since October. How many people do you hear saying, ‘I think I had it, I had this and this, I lost my sense of smell and this and that, but I never got tested’?”.
May 5. Brazilian virologists find antibody samples from November 2019: “Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in Brazil since late November 2019”. The tests were repeated in three laboratories independently, with internal controls and negative controls.
June 17. Spanish virologists find traces of C-19 in Barcelona wastewater from March 2019:“The levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low but were positive,” said research leader Albert Bosch.
June 20. French virologists find SARS-CoV-2 was spreading in France in December 2019. “Early community spreading changes our knowledge of the COVID-19 epidemic”.
Nov. 16. Italian Researchers find Coronavirus in Italy from September, 2019. “Traces of SARS-Cov-2 have been found in samples of waste water taken in Milan and Turin between September 2019 and March 2020”.
Nov. 30. American researchers find high levels of Covid-19 antibodies in archived Red Cross blood samples throughout the USA from Dec. 2019.
Dec. 1.Bloomberg: “COVID-19 was silently infecting Americans before first cases emerged in Wuhan: CDC study. Coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, raising questions about the pandemic’s origin”.
January, 2021. US monthly Covid deaths peak at 95,000. MIT says the real number is 133,000.
Feb. 25. “Positive COVID-19 samples had been reported earlier than those officially accepted by health authorities in other countries, such as France and Italy. Analyzing Covid genomes using k-mer natural vector method, we conclude that the virus likely already existed in France, India, Netherlands, England, and the USA before the Wuhan outbreak”.
Mar. 30.Joint WHO-China Report on Jan.-Feb. China visit: “Researchers reviewed 76,000 clinical records from October to November 2019, in which were 92 possible cases of Covid-19. 67 of those had no signs of infection based on antibody tests done a year later, and all 92 were ultimately ruled out based on the clinical criteria for Covid-19”.
May 4. We have developed a continually updating dashboard of global evolution and spatiotemporal trends of SARS-CoV-2 spread: An evolutionary portrait of the progenitor SARS-CoV-2 and its dominant offshoots in COVID-19 pandemic.
June 1.WHO sends 30 Italian Covid biological samples from 2019 to Rotterdam’s Erasmus University laboratory for re-testing.
June 5. European Medicines Agency reports 13,867 deaths and 1,354,336 serious injuries following injections of MRNA Moderna (CX-024414), MRNA Vaccine Pfizer-Biontech, AstraZeneca Vaccines, Vaccine Janssen (AD26.COV2.S).
June 8. Erasmus University lab results confirm that Italian samples from 2019 ‘are very similar to what (Italy's National Cancer Institute) discovered, despite some small differences. The combined results made a convincing case that the coronavirus or a similar virus was circulating in Italy months before the country's first officially recorded case’.
June 10. UK Government reports 1,295 deaths and 922,596 injuries recorded following the experimental COVID injections: AstraZeneca: 863 deaths and 717,250 injuries; Pfizer- BioNTech: 406 deaths and 193,768 injuries; Moderna: 3 deaths and 9243 injuries. (Source); Unspecified COVID-19 injections: 22 deaths and 2335 injuries. (Source) Italy halted use of AstraZeneca injections for people under the age of 60, following the death of a teenager who died from blood clots.
June 11. CDC lists 329,02 injuries following COVID-19 shots: 5,888 deaths, 4,583, permanent disabilities, 5,884 life-threatening, 43,892 ER visits, and 19,597 hospitalizations.
June 13. Europe's drug regulator suggests countries stop using AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for all age groups as more alternatives have become available amid fears of rare blood clots. "In a pandemic context, our position was and is that the risk-benefit ratio remains favorable for all age groups," he said.
June 19. Ju Liya, Chief Scientist of the European Precision Research Institute in France, told the media that her team found the outbreak in France before 2020 was caused by an indigenous virus. After she published her paper disproving the connection between France’s outbreak and Wuhan, the French government and politicians silenced and shunned her institute.
June 22, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded a thorough investigation of the source of the epidemic in the United States; the whys and whos of America’s inadequate response in fighting the epidemic; an investigation into the safety concerns at Fort Detrick other labs.
June 23. NIH study finds COVID-19 prevalence far exceeded early pandemic cases. Researchers estimate nearly 17 million undiagnosed cases in the U.S. by mid-July 2020 and that there were 4.8 undiagnosed cases for every diagnosed COVID-19 case in this time frame, representing an additional 16.8 million cases by July alone.