The road to 100,000+: How Trump decisions cost U.S. lives
With more than 1.7 million confirmed cases and over 100,000 deaths, more Americans have died from COVID-19 than the total combined combat deaths from every U.S. conflict since the Korean War. In the two months since becoming COVID-19's hardest-hit nation, the number of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths both surged to more than 20 times those in China - the pandemic's original epicenter.
Here is a timeline showing how that happened.
Dec 31, 2019
Chinese health authorities alert the WHO about a cluster of 44 pneumonia cases of "unknown cause" in Wuhan, China.
Jan 8, 2020
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) alerts physicians to watch for "patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China."
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports Chinese researchers made a "preliminary determination" linking Wuhan's pneumonia cases to a "novel (or new) coronavirus."
U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly ignores U.S. intelligence reports about the virus. The Washington Post reports that when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar finally talked to Trump about the virus on Jan. 18, Trump wanted to discuss "vaping."
The CDC confirms the first "Travel-related Case" of "2019 Novel Coronavirus" identified in the United States - a patient in Washington state who had traveled to Wuhan.
The next day, Trump says he's not concerned. "No, we're not [worried] at all and we have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China.”
China takes unprecedented action to contain the outbreak - shuts down Wuhan, a megacity with more than 10 million people.
Trump forms the Coronavirus Task Force.
WHO declares the outbreak a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern."
Trump suspends entry of travelers who were in China 14 days before arriving at U.S. ports of entry.
The WHO calls on countries not to impose such restrictions because they could increase "fear and stigma, with little public health benefit."
Trump's proposed fiscal 2021 budget includes a 16% cut in CDC funding.
"View this the same as the flu," Trump says at a press conference. "You treat this like a flu … Because of all we've done, the risk to the American People remains very low."
Trump predicts a "miracle." He says: "It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear."
Trump blames Democrats for "politicizing" the outbreak. "This is their new hoax," he says, adding, "And, so far, we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States."
CDC confirms first COVID-19 death in the U.S.
WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic, reporting 25 deaths in the U.S.
Trump declares a "National Emergency." WHO reports 36 deaths in U.S. - a 44% increase in two days.
Trump says he knew it was a pandemic all along. "This is a pandemic I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries."
U.S. overtakes the world with "at least 81,321" confirmed cases and "more than 1,000 deaths" - based on WHO data on March 11, an increase of around 3,900% in 15 days.
Trump halts funding to the WHO.
Researchers at Columbia University release statistical model showing "54.6%" fewer COVID-19 deaths had the U.S. started control measures "just one week earlier" [March 8]. If started "two weeks earlier" [March 1], the model shows an "82.7%" reduction in deaths.
The U.S. reached a bleak milestone: Over 100,000 people have died of COVID-19 in three months.