The COVID -19 Time Line provides an overview chronology of the developing pandemic and the response of the various stake holders. More detailed time lines will be provided when addressing the various stakeholders. 
Color Code:  Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to COVID-19.  Governments: Global, US Federal, State, Local
  Related Events, Media, Healthcare system, Public Health 
Resources: For Resources for Chronology 
KUMU Maps for chronology 

December 2019 

December  31, 2020




January 1st, 2020  

  • President Trump Briefed 


January 3, 2020


  • CDC Director Redfield spoke with  George Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The next day, Redfield  offered  CDC technical experts in laboratory and epidemiology of respiratory infectious diseases to assist you and China CDC in identification of this unknown and possibly novel pathogen.” 


January 6th, 2020 

  • The Trump administration “offered to send a CDC team to China that could assist with these public health efforts,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on Jan. 28. “I reiterated that offer when I spoke to China’s minister of health on Monday, and it was reiterated again via the World Health Organization today. We are urging China: More cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take toward a more effective response.”

January 8th, 2020  

  • CDC Health Alert Network CDC has established an Incident Management Structure to optimize domestic and international coordination if additional public health actions are required.


January 10th, 2020  

January 11th ,2020 



January 14th,  2020

The N.S.C. convened an interagency meeting to discuss the virus. Early that morning, the W.H.O.—relying on China’s assurances—tweeted that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. The N.S.C. recommended that screeners take the temperatures of any passengers arriving from Wuhan.


January 15th,  2020

President Trump signed the first phase of a U.S.-China trade deal, declaring, “Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers, and families.” He called China’s President, Xi Jinping, “a very, very good friend.”

January 16th, 2020

  • German researchers develop a diagnostic test for COVID-19. 

German researchers at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin develop and publish the world’s first publicly available diagnostic test.


January 17th, 2020

  • CDC implements entry screening at three U.S. airports for passengers traveling from Wuhan."

  • CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Response Telebriefing

  • Media Report 2019 Novel Coronavirus Response Telebriefing

    • “Based on the information that CDC has today, we believe the current risk from this virus to the general public is low.  For a family sitting around the dinner table tonight this is not something that they generally need to worry about.”


January 21, 2020


January 22nd, 2020 


  • Trump was asked in an interview about the coronavirus and he dismissed it. “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control,” he said. Jeffrey Prescott, 


January 24, 2020


  • Second travel-related case in U.S. confirmed in Illinois.

  • Trump tweet  “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!

  • Senate hearing hearing in the  Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, chaired. About twenty senators showed up to hear Anthony Fauci and Robert Redfield speak at an hour-long briefing. The health authorities were reassuring. Redfield said, “We are prepared for this.”


January 27, 2020


  • FDA issues first press release related to virus, highlighting its willingness to speed development of "medical countermeasures," including tests.

January 28, 2020


  • HHS Secretary Azar delivers public remarks on coronavirus preparedness, assuring the public that the president is receiving multiple briefings each day and asserting that the readiness of the Strategic National Stockpile is being assessed.

  • National-security adviser, Robert O’Brien warned the President, “This will be the biggest national-security threat you will face.” Trump asked if the outbreak posed as big a danger as sars, and the briefer responded that it wasn’t clear yet.

January 29, 2020


  • President Donald Trump announced the formation of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force led by HHS Secretary Azar.

  • White House President Trump announces formation of White House Coronavirus Task Force that began meeting January 27, led by HHS Secretary Azar and coordinated through National Security Council; statement also asserts that National Biodefense Strategy, signed in 2018, will accelerate response.

  • A memo from Peter Navarro is the most direct warning known to have circulated at a key moment among top administration officials.The administration was taking its first substantive steps to confront a crisis that had already consumed China’s leaders and would go on to upend life in Europe and the United States. Washington Post 


January 30, 2020

January 31, 2020

January 2020


February 2020

February 2, 2020

  • State Department issued a travel advisory for China

  • The Department of Homeland Security directed all flights from China and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days to be routed through one of eight U.S. airports, with three airports added on February 3.


February 3, 2020 

  • CDC U.S. confirmed cases pass 10.


February 4, 2020

  • HHS issues declaration "pursuant to section 319F-3 of the Public Health Service Act to provide liability immunity for activities related to medical countermeasures against COVID-19."

  • FDA grants Emergency Use Approvals (EUAs) to CDC-qualified laboratories to test for coronavirus using the test kits developed by the CDC, limited to patients who meet CDC criteria for testing; test validation work begins thereafter.

  • FDA issued an emergency use authorization to enable use of CDC’s diagnostic test, permitting its use by certified state and local public health laboratories across the United States and abroad.


February 6, 2020 

  • The first confirmed COVID-19 death in the US

February 7, 2020 

  • CDC issues interim final rule to amend its Foreign Quarantine regulations, requiring airlines to collect data on their passengers and crew arriving from foreign countries.

  • Trump Tweet regarding China 

  • President Trump in interview with journalist Bob Woodward  "It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus."


February 10, 2020 

  • White House in remarks to nation's governors, President Trump briefly answers a question on the virus by saying, "We're in great shape though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now."


February 11, 2020 

  • WHO announces official designation of COVID-19 for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2


February 12, 2020 


  • CDC reveals that its testing kits were flawed, leading many authorized labs to have difficulty validating them because of problems with one of the reagents.

February 14, 2020

  • CDC  releases COVID-19 “Hospital Preparedness Assessment Tool” to help hospitals prepare for infected patients.

February 22, 2020


  • CDC officials tell states that only symptomatic patients with travel histories in mainland China were to be tested.

  • WHO submitted to China for the mission.” Eventually, U.S. experts were part of a team that also included specialists from Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore and South Korea. The group finally visited Wuhan on Feb. 22.


February 24, 2020


  • The White House sent Congress a request of $2.5 billion in total resources for coronavirus response efforts, including $1.25 billion in new emergency supplemental funding.


February 25, 2020

  • White House At a press conference in India, President Trump briefly remarks that the virus "is very well under control in our country."

  • CDC announces that the pandemic is likely to spread to the United States and will make various mitigation measures necessary.


February 26, 2020

  • CDC emails state and local officials to tell them its “testing capacity is more than adequate to meet current testing demands."

  • CDC announces what it believes may be an instance of community spread in California: "the first time this has happened in the United States." Reporting indicates that the patient sought a test on February 19 but was initially rebuffed because of not matching existing testing criteria.

  • White House President Trump announces that Vice President Pence will now lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force.



February 27, 2020


  • White House Additions to the White House Coronavirus Task Force: Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury; Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States; and Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council.

  • White House Vice President Pence announces Ambassador Debbie Birx to serve as the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

  • White House At press conference, President Trump suggests that while Americans hoping to travel abroad may have their plans disrupted, the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. is likely to be cut off, claiming, "when you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done."


February 28, 2020


  • CDC updated its guidance on testing and evaluation of suspected cases, expanding the criteria for who should be tested. CDC widens testing criteria to those with foreign travel in Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea, as well as those with respiratory failure severe enough to cause hospitalization regardless of travel.



February 29, 2020


  • FDA issued a new policy for certain laboratories seeking to develop diagnostic tests for coronavirus in order to achieve more rapid testing capacity in the U.S. FDA announces that public and private labs could use non-approved tests and seek retroactive approval.

  • President Donald Trump issued a Proclamation 9992 suspending entry of foreign nationals who have been in Iran within the past 14 days.


March  2020

March 1, 2020

  • White House In remarks at CPAC, Trump says: "As you know, we took in approximately 40 people; they were Americans. And they may have had it. Some had it, but they will put in quarantine, and it’s working out. Many of them are in good shape right now, and they're better and going home."


  • White House Additions to White House Coronavirus Task Force: Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of Food and Drugs; and Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

  • NYT First confirmed case of coronavirus in New York state.


March 2, 2020

  • CDC and FDA announced they are taking emergency action to allow more types of respirators to be used in health care settings amid several outbreaks of coronavirus in multiple states.

  • FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn says that “by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed."

  • White House In Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump announces cooperation with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop a vaccine and treatment.

  • White House Coronavirus Task Force initiates regular discussions about crisis response involving "more than 50 of our nation's governors."

  • White House Additions to the White House Coronavirus Task Force: Robert Wilkie, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

March 4, 2020

March 5, 2020

  • CDC Confirmed cases in U.S. pass 100.

  • CMS announced the development of a new code that can be used by health care providers and laboratories to bill for certain COVID-19 diagnostic tests to help increase testing and track new cases. The announcement was accompanied by new fact sheets that explain Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Individual and Small Group Market coverage for services.


March 6, 2020 

March 11, 2020

  • CDC Confirmed cases in the U.S. pass 1,000.The Department of Defense issued restrictions on foreign travel for DoD components.

  • HHS announced that the CDC will be awarding over $560 million to state and local jurisdictions to support COVID-19 response.

  • State Department issued a“Global Level 3 Health Advisory – Reconsider Travel” advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad.

  • President Donald Trump issued a proclamation limiting entry of foreign nationals who have been in European countries, excluding the U.K. and Ireland, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

  • White House President Trump addresses the nation in a televised address, saying that "we are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people" and announcing a number of new actions, including a ban on European entries and an agreement with American insurers that copays for coronavirus testing and treatment will be waived.

  • White House President Trump issues Proclamation 9993, suspending entry for foreign nationals who had traveled in the Schengen Area (continental Europe) in the past two weeks.

  • White House White House issues memorandum indicating that HHS Secretary will use authority pursuant to section 319F-3 of the Public Health Service Act and Section 564 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to facilitate emergency use of respirators; Secretary of Labor will also consider steps to increase the availability of respirators.

  • The White House Task Force on Coronavirus and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two documents (Actions for All Americans and A Framework for Mitigation) to assist State, local, tribal, and community leaders in slowing the transmission of COVID-19. 

March 13, 2020

  • White House President Trump declares a national emergency, and also announces close cooperation with private sector leaders to enable mass private testing.

  • HHS Secretary Azar issues Memorandum announcing that he will seek to accommodate states seeking flexibility in authorizing more labs to develop and perform tests.

  • White House Administration tasks Adm. Brett Giroir, head of the Public Health Service within HHS, with coordinating testing efforts across health agencies.

  • FDA approves first commercial coronavirus test from the large pharmaceutical company Roche, within 24 hours of receiving application.

  • President Trump declared a National Emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak.

  • The Department of Defense issued restrictions on domestic travel for DoD components.

  • President Trump appointed Admiral Brett Giroir to coordinate testing efforts among public health service agencies.

March 14, 2020

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • White House President Trump issues Proclamation 9996, suspending entry for foreign nationals who had traveled in the UK or Ireland in the past two weeks.

  • CDC issues No Sail Order for all cruise ships.

March 15, 2020 

  • The CDC recommended canceling or postponing gatherings of 50 or more people during the next eight weeks. 

  • ​HHS Pursuant to the Project Bioshield Act of 2004, Secretary Azar waives parts of the HIPAA Privacy Rule in order to facilitate a more effective response to the virus


March 16, 2020

  • The White House released Coronavirus Guidelines for America recommending people avoid discretionary travel and social gatherings larger than 10 people.

  • White House Trump administration drafts “Executive Order to Save Lives” that would have made it easier to use experimental treatments that have passed Phase 1 safety testing, but is persuaded not to issue it by senior FDA scientists.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed, by unanimous consent, the revised Families First Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6201) with technical corrections.​

  • The first Moderna  human vaccine  trial began


March 18, 2020

  • CDC Confirmed cases in U.S. pass 10,000.

  • White House President Trump signs into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, which provides paid sick leave, free testing, expanded food assistance and unemployment benefits, and which requires additional protections for healthcare workers.

  • White House Executive Order 13909: President Trump invokes the Defense Production Act of 1950, enabling the federal government to direct and allocate the production of protective equipment and medical supplies.

  • President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

  • The U.S. Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

  • HUD Provides Immediate Relief For Homeowners Amid Nationwide Coronavirus Response. HUD announces a suspension of all foreclosure and evictions for the next 60 days.


March 2o, 2020

  • HHS issues a rule that "provides a procedure for CDC to suspend the introduction of persons from designated countries or places, if required, in the interest of public health."

  • President Trump Approves Major Disaster Declaration for New York

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection USCBP temporarily limits travel of individuals from Canada into the United States to “essential travel."

  • FDA issues guidance on "Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency," which acknowledges conditions under which hand sanitizer will be produced that will not lead to enforcement actions.


March 22, 2020

  • President Trump authorized the use of National Guard under Title 32, 502(f) for California, New York and Washington ​


March 23, 2020

  • The President issued a second Defense Production Act Executive Order: Preventing Hoarding of Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19. 


March 25, 2020

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed the U.S. Senate.


March 26, 2020

  • Department of Health and Human Services issued designation of scarce COVID-19 resources subject to hoarding prevention measures.

March 27, 2020


  • CDC Confirmed cases in U.S. pass 100,000.

  • FDA issues guidance on its enforcement policy regarding face-masks and respirators during the crisis, in order to expand availability.

  • White House President Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to direct General Motors to produce ventilators.

  • White House President Trump signs the CARES Act into law. The most significant provisions address the economic fallout of pandemic, but Title III includes numerous provisions relating to testing, medical supply chains, drug review, telehealth, and support for healthcare workers.

  • President signs Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding General Motors Company.

  • President signs Executive Order Delegating Additional Authority Under the DPA with Respect to Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19.

  • President signs Executive Order to Order the Select Reserve and Certain Members of the Individual Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed by President Trump.

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was approved the U.S. House.



A Chronological Overview of the Federal, State, and Local Response to COVID-19

Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response  by Ryan Goodman and Danielle Schulkin

Timeline Spreadsheet 

WHO   Response starting 31 December 2019

Why Weren't we ready for the Coronavirus 

What Steps Has The Federal Government Taken To Address Coronavirus (March 27, 2020)?

(From National Governors Association Website) 

The federal government’s coronavirus response—Public health timeline (Brookings) 

Philip A. Wallach and Justus Myers Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How Trump killed tens of thousands of Americans:  The Trump Pandemic A blow-by-blow account of how the president killed thousands of Americans.  Slate, William Saletan  Aug 09, 2020

A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic NYTimes Derrick Bryson Taylor Aug. 6, 2020

The outbreak of the virus, which began in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 14.7 million people. At least 610,200 people have died.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Unfolded: a Timeline

The outbreak of the virus, which began in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than eight million people. At least 437,000 people have died. By Derrick Bryson Taylor June 9, 2020

 A fascinating unclassified timeline compiled by the Congressional Research Service offers a day-by-day and then hour-by-hour chronology of who knew what, and when, about developments in central China. By at least late December, signs were beginning to show something seriously amiss—despite foot-dragging, lies, and apparent cover-up on the Chinese side.

During the Obama administration, the U.S. had negotiated to have its observers stationed in many cities across China, through a program called Predict. But the Trump administration did not fill those positions, including in Wuhan.

National Security

U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic. March 20, 2020 Washington Post 

Jefferson Health Timeline 

A Reporter at Large

The Plague Year By Lawrence Wright  The New Yorker December 28, 2020

The U.S. has only four per cent of the world’s population, yet it accounts for twenty per cent of all covid deaths. How did we go so wrong?


The 3 Weeks That Changed Everything James Fallows The Atlantic

Imagine if the National Transportation Safety Board investigated America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. spent 15 years preparing for the coronavirus. Why did we handle it so badly? 

The Lost Six Weeks When the US Failed to Control the Virus. BBC