Peer-Reviewed Politics

Timeline covering the pandemic and how the US, WHO, and China responded along the way.


November 2015
Nature medicine publishes “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence,” a warning.

Oct 2019
Federal government ends PREDICT, the program to predict/stop outbreaks.

Nov 2019
A person contracts the virus, likely from contact with an intermediate animal, likely a pangolin. Chinese scientists suspect Nov 17, 2019, as the date it moved into humans.

Dec 2019
Mid-December patients appear with pneumonia. Whistleblowers say medical doctors suspected something by late Dec 2019.

Dec 27, 2019
A Wuhan doctor told China’s health authorities that a new coronavirus caused the disease they now saw in bigger numbers.

Dec 30, 2019
Two doctors in Wuhan, Li Wenliang, and Xie Linka, messaged friends: “warning of possible ‘SARS’ cases and urging people to stay away from the Huanan seafood market, where the patients had gone.

Dec 31, 2020
Chinese officials reported atypical pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China to WHO’s Office in Beijing and an Incident Management Support Team formed the next day.

Jan 1, 2020
China shuts down the market.

Jan 4
WHO tweets:

4 Jan 2020: WHO reports on social media a cluster of pneumonia cases — with no deaths — in Wuhan, Hubei province

Jan 5
WHO Tweets:

“The cause has not yet been identified or confirmed. WHO is closely monitoring the situation and is in close contact with national authorities in China.”

Chinese scientists identified the causative agent as a novel coronavirus and submitted it to a journal. They publish to a journal.

Jan 8

CDC HAN outbreak alert shares that Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology (PUE) was found. PUE is COVID-19.

Jan 10

Chinese scientists shared genome with the world by Jan 10; Australia shared it with virologists worldwide. This information allows you to make tests.

This posting is communicated by Edward C. Holmes, University of Sydney on behalf of the consortium led by Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang, Fudan University, Shanghai

Disclaimer:
Please feel free to download, share, use, and analyze this data…. If you have any other questions –then please also contact us directly.

Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang,
Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & School of Public Health,
Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
email: zh*********@shphc.org.cn

Jan 12
China shared the genetic information with WHO; WHO shared with world.

Shared on the Arctic Network, a platform beloved by virologists.

Jan 13
Germany makes its testing protocol public. The US declines to use.

Jan 14
WHO tweets on Jan 14, that there was “no clear evidence” that Coronavirus could spread between people. The statement did not mean human-to-human spread wasn’t happening. A lack of evidence is not confirmation that something does not exist. There was circumstantial evidence stacking up, so countries continued to prepare.

Jan 17
Public health leader Imperial College London published an article that provided evidence the outbreak hadn’t been controlled. Many agreed with Imperial College, me among them. The math said so.

The report estimated 1,723 cases, assuming Jan 12 as the latest onset date and included assumptions on traffic through the airport based on averages.

Jan 13–19
International cases proved that China had not, and perhaps could not, contain this. These cases did not come from the market.

The WHO reported these via the disease outbreak network (DON). The reports strongly suggested continued spread — I saw it even as a grad student.

I wrote the original article Jan 18 and edited it to reflect the Korean and US cases on Jan 21.

Jan 19
They sequenced genomes in many countries and labs. The findings revealed critical information. The virus had likely jumped to humans between Sept and November. SARS also emerged in Nov 2002.


This finding meant we could not control the outbreak with travel restrictions alone. It had been around for too long. The proverbial cat was already out of the bag.

Jan 21
WHO experts conduct a field investigation of the outbreak.
The first US case found, after arriving back in the US on Jan 15.

Jan 22
WHO makes a public statement expressing that human-to-human transmission was likely happening in Wuhan.


Jan 22–23
The IHR Emergency Committee convened. The vote split on declaring a PHEIC, before convening again.

Jan 24
Jasper Fuk-Woo Chan and colleagues submitted a paper published in The Lancet confirming human-to-human transmission had and was happening.

Four senators, three Republicans, and one Democrat sold off investments after a classified briefing about Coronavirus.


“According to financial disclosure forms, Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) each sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks within days of the Senate holding a classified briefing on Jan. 24 with Trump administration officials on the threat of the coronavirus outbreak.” — the Hill

Jan 25
Virologists are lovely people willing to talk to anyone from any field. Note the date of sequencing shared with me is Jan 23, 2020.

Jan 28
CDC finished its testing design. Countries often design their own tests; however, it remains unclear why it took so long. Other countries had designed tests by Jan 13.

For context, field researchers built a functional molecular virology lab from two storage containers and $40,000 in a remote area.

Jan 30
The outbreak met the criteria for a PHEIC, and Dr. Tedros tweeted that day.

Jan 31
President instates travel restrictions for China, but the information we had since Jan 19th told us that wouldn’t stop it and we needed to act fast.

Feb 1
CDC sends out testing guidelines, and despite evidence of spread, testing barred non-travelers until Mar 4, 2020.

Testing requirements:
Patient with fever or symptoms of lower respiratory infection AND one of two: 1) Traveled to China in the last two weeks
2) Contact with a confirmed case

1 case in Jan = 400 in Feb -160,000 in Mar

Feb 5
Congress holds a hearing and learns:

Testimony from pandemic expert Dr. Nuzzo included [full document]

Testimony from the White House Ebola response coordinator.

“We have a travel Band-Aid right now. First, before it was imposed, 300,000 people came here from China in the previous month. So, the horse is out of the barn.” — Ron Klain

Feb 24
US politicians pulled investments out of the market. I’d be angry if I hadn’t divested in January. Politicians did not act, though it seemed likely enough to move their money. Officially, they say it’s a coincidence, and they had nothing to do with money being moved. If I had money in the market, I’d be miffed.

Mid-to-late Feb
This was a grim time. The media vilified public health for causing panic, but we did not see panic. Panic is when you lose control of your bladder. It’s when people cannot speak or move or behave in ways that make little sense.

This made sense. We saw a survival instinct. More than unwelcome news, uncertainty causes us stress and suffering. Forbes will tell you about it, here. People got mixed messages, and they tried to protect themselves.

Feb 28
The President stated the Coronavirus will “disappear” like a “miracle” at a press conference. In late February, he speculated that warm weather would kill the virus and stop the spread. Harvard disagreed, warning SARS surged in summer. The media begins calling the outbreak a hoax.

A study showed tracing 70% of an infected patient’s contacts could control the outbreak in 3 months. No significant federal or state action occurred. What better solution could there be than to employ unemployed people while controlling the pandemic? Many guides were quickly written for the state and national levels.

March 4 and 9
Testing expanded to non-travelers, but the number of cases has grown to exceed testing capacity. The community spread has spread like wildfire over the last 6 weeks.

March 10
In a meeting with Republican senators at the U.S. Capitol, President Trump said:

This was unexpected…And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

Some have said that this could never have been contained because Americans wouldn’t quarantine. This is not the opinion of those inside the infectious disease field. No evidence exists to support this claim.

March 13
Elected officials affected earlier by the outbreak examined the exports of PPE and became alarmed.


57 House Members ask POTUS to invoke the Defense Production Act to meet the PPE needs of our US healthcare providers.

We write to urge you to use the powers afforded by the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 U.S.C. §§4501 et seq.) to begin the mass production of supplies needed to address the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic.

The need for supplies to properly address the pandemic is acute. According to the CDC, “manufacturers of select types of [personal protective equipment] are reporting increased volume of orders and challenges in meeting order demands… the CDC is “encouraging healthcare systems to implement strategies to conserve supplies.” We are extremely concerned that such “strategies” could force frontline health care workers to use protective equipment improperly, or go without it altogether.

Mid-March
Comparisons of COVID-19 to the flu began circulating, confusing the public, and conflicting with experts. Good articles circulate, but the myth persists.


We had 100% susceptibility. A percentage of people have immunity to the flu every year and it spreads more slowly. Herd immunity appears when around 1/3 of the population has immunity to the seasonal flu. The qualities of the virus promised to spread with a fury that humanity had never seen.

Two American Emergency Medical organizations have denounced misinformation spread by medical doctors.

The world holds 7.5 billion people. In 1918, cities were less dense with 1.8 billion people in the world. Now planes fill the sky and extensive global trade races about below. In every way, we became more vulnerable.

Contrary to popular ideas, seasonal flu and pandemic flu are not the same.

March 11
WHO states it is “deeply concerned” about the “alarming inaction.” The US restricts travel to more affected regions on Mar 11. Experts testified over two months earlier that travel restrictions would fail.

March 16
President enacts 15 days to slow the spread. The first use of the phrase “Chinese Virus.”

View at Medium.com

March 19

10,000th case

March 26
The US becomes the country with the most cases in the world.



April 9
No evidence supports the virus-bioweapon theory. The media said otherwise.
The medical community grows concerned about the alarming disregard for clear evidence.

April 17
A strategy guide instructs candidates to deliver misleading information. It stresses to invoke China as at-fault.

“That delay from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20 was neither the first mistake made by Chinese officials at all levels in confronting the outbreak, nor the longest lag, as governments around the world have dragged their feet for weeks and even months in addressing the virus.”

See Jan 10th, when we had the data to make tests and information showing we should prepare and develop tests. Jan 13 Germany shared its testing design with the world. Even once we did know — let’s say we could not have known until Jan 20th, we did not use measures experts stated would be effective until Mar 16, 2020. What happens in our country is not the fault of any external entity.

The book also advises candidates to say that “public health officials acted late” and to suggest that the virus is a “bioweapon.”

No credible scientists nor any intelligence officials believe this was a bioweapon, and the propaganda attempting to convince Americans that it is has made us look poor on the global stage. Public health officials didn’t act late. They couldn’t act because testing guidelines prevented them from proving community spread until Mar 4, 2020.

They later established a task force to investigate the virus origins, and elected officials quote the Corona Big Bookpublished weeks earlier. Again, no evidence suggests anything other than natural origins. Intelligence and science communities both agree that it has natural origins. I concur with this.

April 22
Former CIA director discussed national security, saying our ability to project power has suffered, even if our actual ability has not, on podcast Intelligence Matters.

April 27
Two medical organizations condemn medical doctors spreading false information.

The last four months have stunned me in a way I cannot express. Now, I must prove the truth that I have told all along is the truth to people who otherwise trust me. That is the most terrifying part.

If that’s not power —convincing a sizeable population that what just happened, did not happen— I don’t know what is.

It may be more dangerous than what the present-day Chinese government does. The Chinese people know their government lies. Then, because of the lies believed, we tear each other apart.

April 30

April 30, 2020

May 5
Every global headline reads “US blocks UN Security Council’s resolution to establish a global cease-fire for the duration of the pandemic.” Officially, the US government says China blocked it, but no headline reads that anywhere in the world. The insistence that the virus is a bioweapon has increased global tension.

We could resume accusations after the pandemic. It is unclear why these are so time-sensitive as to deny a global cease-fire, especially since the US needs to focus on itself.

May 5
Dr. Rick Bright files a whistleblower complaint [see here] following dismissal from his position after raising concerns about hydroxychloroquine from facilities the FDA had not inspected. He has a good track record, doctoral studies in immunology, and the evidence does not suggest dishonesty. Further, this follows a pattern of behavior seen in the EPA where honest officials end up removed or transferred.

Thereafter, HHS political leadership retaliated against Dr. Bright for his objections and resistance to funding potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections and by the Administration itself.

Dr. Bright opposed the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as lacking scientific merit, even though the Administration promoted it…and demanded that New York and New Jersey be “ flooded” with these drugs, which were imported from factories in Pakistan India that had not been inspected by the FDA.” Excerpt from whistleblower complaint

May 5
Every global headline reads “US blocks UN Security Council’s resolution to establish a global cease-fire for the duration of the pandemic.” Officially, the US government says China blocked it. No headline reads that anywhere in the world. Insisting the virus is a bioweapon has increased global tension. The US blocking the resolution will deny people in war-torn countries the peace needed to fight the pandemic — something that affects us all — and bury their sick and dying.

May 6
Virus origin theories promoted in the US spark Beijing backlash. The administration keeps pushing unverified accusations that the coronavirus came from a Chinese research laboratory. It is a lie or evidence those promoting it poorly understand science and should not be interpreting it.

May 7
Elected US politicians announce a task force to investigate the virus’s origins. The international community strongly disapproves. Given the disaster taking place in the states, it is ill-advisable to waste time and resources on an idea already investigated. Intelligence will continue to look for evidence. They don’t need oversight, while our country needs oversight badly.

Researchers found the virus in 17/25 pangolins sampled. The worrying finding means it could spill into humans again, but we cannot address the threat until we admit this came from animals.

May 11
China counters U.S. accusations of starting the coronavirus by saying the US started it. Not true, but neither is there evidence to suggest China created it.

May 18
President of the US sends a letter to WHO threatening to permanently withdraw funding and involvement, spurring concern about the factual errors within the letter.

May 19
The Lancet publishes a statement responding to the US President’s May 18 letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. This letter addresses one inaccuracy.




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