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From Wuhan to the White House: A timeline of COVID-19’s spread

  • March 19: China reports no new local infections

    China reported no new local infections, a signal that China’s epidemic could be winding down. However, although no new local infections were recorded, there were 34 new infections confirmed among patients who had traveled to China from elsewhere. On the same day, Italy overtook China as the country with the most deaths worldwide.

  • March 20: Deaths exceed 10,000 globally

    Confirmed deaths from COVID-19 exceeded 10,000 worldwide. Cases began to rise exponentially, for example, from 2,958 to 13,957 overnight in Germany. China had a second day with no new domestic cases reported.

  • March 23: United Kingdom locks down

    While the United Kingdom had initially considered a “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19, the country eventually decided to follow the lead of the rest of Europe and close all non-essential stores, ban meetings of more than two people, and require people to stay at home except to buy food or medicine.

  • March 24: India, a country of 1.3 billion people, shuts down

    India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown. At the time, the number of cases reported in the country of 1.3 billion people was around 500. Some migrant workers were forced to walk hundreds of miles back to their homes.

  • March 24: Tokyo Summer Olympics postponed

    It was announced that the Tokyo Summer Olympics would be postponed for one year in response to COVID-19. This was the first time Olympic games have been canceled since World War II. Only three games have been canceled since the beginning of the Olympics, all due to wars.

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  • March 25: U.S. government announces $2 trillion aid plan

    After negotiations, the White House and Congress came to an agreement on a $2 trillion aid plan to help businesses, workers, and the health care system. The plan passed the Senate in a unanimous 96-0 vote.

  • March 26: Record unemployment filings in U.S.

    It was reported that a record 3.3 million people in the United States filed for unemployment the previous week. This was a rise of more than 3 million from the previous week, which saw unemployment claims by just 281,000 people. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said unemployment could reach 20% due to COVID-19.

  • March 26: Global COVID-19 cases surpass 500,000

    Over 500,000 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed around the world. In Europe, the number of cases exceeded 250,000, more than half of which were in Italy and Spain. Italy’s death toll reached 8,215.

  • March 27: U.S. surpasses Italy for most cases worldwide

    With 82,000 known cases, the United States officially had more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. New York state was hit especially hard, with half of the total cases nationwide. New York City alone had 23,000 cases and 365 deaths.

  • March 27: Nearly half of all Americans under lockdown

    In response to the country’s rapidly growing numbers, the local governments of the United States put roughly half the population under some kind of lockdown. Twenty-three states issued stay-at-home orders and 10 other states and territories ordered nonessential businesses to close.

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