As reporters looked on during a contentious White House briefing this week, President Trump stepped aside and played a brief video showing several media figures downplaying the coronavirus in January and February, including some personalities who now argue the president didn’t act quickly enough.
Looking back, members of both parties have mud on their face for past predictions and assessments.
A timeline compiled by Fox News of coronavirus statements from journalists, world bodies, politicians and their senior pandemic advisers from January to March offers insights into how fluid and unclear the situation was. For example, Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, Ron Klain, has variously praised and criticized China, and even encouraged travel to the country amid the outbreak.
The timeline also underscores the extent to which President Trump’s rhetoric has changed, as he juggled a new trade deal with China and sought to project confidence even as the virus spread.
Soon after the coronavirus infected its first human in late 2019, China’s government systematically hid key facts about the contagion and detained a doctor who tried to warn the public. The chronology begins here.
Jan. 4: The head of the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Infection warns that “the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that has infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human.”
Jan. 6: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a “level 1 travel watch — the lowest of its three levels — for China’s outbreak,” according to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. The CDC said the “cause and the transmission mode aren’t yet known, and it advised travelers to Wuhan to avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people.” The CDC also offered to send a team to China, but China declined.
Jan. 8: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares, “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.”
Jan. 11: China reports its first coronavirus death.
Jan. 14: The WHO announces, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.” Meanwhile, according to The Associated Press, internal Chinese documents show that government officials acknowledged likely human-to-human transmission of coronavirus, and said they were following orders from the president of China to keep it under wraps.
Read and see the video at: Changing Timeline