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

  • March 25: US 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. Nearly three weeks after the White House approved the coronavirus stimulus bill, eligible U.S. residents began receiving their $1,200 stimulus check payments. This followed on the heels of increased unemployment benefits, another aspect of the relief package to help the millions of Americans out of work.

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  • March 26: Record unemployment filings in US

    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.

    Peak unemployment hit in April 2020 at 14.7%, the highest number ever recorded since data collection began in 1948.

  • March 27: US surpasses Italy for most cases worldwide

    With 82,000 known cases in late March, 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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  • April 2: More than 1 million confirmed cases worldwide

    The number of global COVID-19 cases doubled over a week and surpassed the 1 million mark. The United States alone contains over 20% of these cases, and the disease had now claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people around the world.

    It took less than two weeks for the next 1 million COVID-cases to be recorded.

  • April 5: First animal in US tests positive for the virus

    A tiger at New York City’s Bronx Zoo tested positive for the coronavirus after being exposed to a zookeeper who wasn’t showing any symptoms. Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, is the first animal in the United States to test positive for the virus, and the first coronavirus case found in a tiger.

    [Pictured: A Malayan tiger in the Bronx Zoo.]

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  • April 14: Trump halts funding to WHO

    Trump announced that he will halt U.S. funding for the WHO until a review into its handling of the coronavirus is complete. The president said he believes the WHO was slow to respond to the initial outbreak of the virus in China and this is what led to a global pandemic. The U.S. is currently the WHO’s largest donor, pledging nearly $900 million in the past two years.

  • April 19: Nursing homes represent a disproportionate amount of COVID-19 deaths

    Two months after the first coronavirus cases were found in a Seattle home, The New York Times revealed that at least 7,000 people have died in nursing or long-care homes, accounting for one-fifth of the virus’ death toll in America. Due to scarce resources and overcrowded facilities, many Americans most susceptible to catching the disease are not receiving the proper health care and support that they need.

    As of Dec. 8, an estimated 39% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. happened in nursing homes.

  • April 20: Trump announces ban on US immigration

    Trump announced on Twitter that he was finalizing an executive order to temporarily prevent new immigrants from coming to the United States while the U.S. economy struggles to recover during the pandemic. In July the White House announced Green Card restrictions but backed down from guest working visa suspension after an outcry from the business community.

  • April 20: Protests to reopen the country erupt across America

    After most states were on lockdown for weeks, residents in over a dozen states took to the streets to express their disapproval of the continuous stay-at-home orders. Protestors had different reasons behind their frustrations, but many were citing the negative economic consequences of closing most businesses. Others were tired of having their movement restricted by the government and public health officials. Some just wanted haircuts.