History of the outbreak
Dec. 31, 2019: China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of a pneumonia outbreak of unknown cause in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province.1 The seafood and animal market thought to be the virus’ source was closed the next day.2 The causative organism was identified as a novel coronavirus (named 2019-nCOV).
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses producing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they are transmitted between animals and humans. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Jan. 30: The WHO declared 2019-nCOV to be a global health emergency, acknowledging the disease represented a risk beyond the borders of China.3
Feb. 11: The WHO renamed the virus COVID-19.
Feb. 23: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 to be high, both globally and in the United States.4
March 1: The WHO reported more than 87,137 confirmed cases in 59 countries, and 2977 people have died from COVID-19.5 Greater than 1,700 healthcare professionals have been infected with the virus, causing six deaths, including one ophthalmologist.6-8
March 3: The CDC reported 60 confirmed cases in the United States, with six total deaths and 12 states reporting cases.9 This includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases reported to CDC. It does not include people who returned to the U.S. via State Department-chartered flights. Twenty-two of the 60 cases are travel associated, 11 are likely person-to-person transmission, and 27 are under investigation, which means that state and local public health officials are still investigating how these people were infected.
Related: Optometry during COVID-19 pandemic
1. World Health Organization. Pneumonia of unknown cause – China. Available at: https://www.who.int/csr/don/05-january-2020-pneumonia-of-unkown-cause-ch.... Accessed 3/3/20.
2. Huang C , Wang Y , Li X, et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020 Feb 15;395(10223):497-506.
3. World Health Organization. Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/30-01-2020-statement-on-the-second-...(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov). Accessed 3/3/20.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html. Accessed 3/3/20.
5. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Available at: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Accessed 3/3/20.
6. Imai N , Dorigatti I , Cori A , et al. Report 2: estimating the potential total number of novel coronavirus cases in Wuhan City, China. Imperial College London. Available at: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-.... Accessed 3/4/20.
7. Chan JF, Yuan S , Kok KH , et al. A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster. Lancet .2020 Feb 15;395(10223):514-523
8. Li Q , Guan X , Wu P, et al. Early transmission dynamics in Wuhan, China, of novel Coronavirus–Infected pneumonia. N Engl J Med. 2020. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2001316.
9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCOV/cases-in-us.html. Accessed 3/3/20.
10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Transcript for the CDC Telebriefing Update on COVID-19. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0303-COVID-19-update.html. Accessed 3/4/20.
11. Bellware K, Achenbach J, Mettler K, et al. Coronavirus live updates. Wash Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/01/coronavirus-live-updates/. Accessed 3/5/20.
12. World Health Organization. Laboratory testing for 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in suspected human cases - Interim guidance. Available at: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/laboratory-testing-for-2019-nove.... Accessed 3/4/20.
13. Peiris JSM, Yuen KY, Osterhaus AD, Stöhr K. The severe acute respiratory syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2003 Dec 18;349(25):2431-41.
14. Zaki AM, van Boheemen S , Bestebroer TM , et al. Isolation of a novel coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia. N Engl J Med. 2012 Nov 8;367(19):1814-20.
15. Killerby ME , Biggs HM , Midgley CM , et al. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus transmission. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Feb;26(2):191-198.
16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html. Accessed 3/4/20.
17. American Optometric Association. Health Policy Institute. Statement: Doctors of Optometry and COVID-19. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/documents/HPI/HPI%20CoronaVirus%20Statement%201-30-2.... Accessed 3/4/20.
18. World Health Organization. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus. Accessed 3/4/20.
19. van der Hoek L , Pyrc K , Jebbink MF , et al. Identification of a new human coronavirus. Nat Med. 2004 Apr;10(4):368-73.
20. Vabret A, Mourez , Dina J, et al. Human coronavirus NL63, France. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Aug;11(8):1225-9.
21. Li JO, Lam DSC, Chen Y, Ting DSW. Novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): The importance of recognizing possible early ocular manifestation and using protective eyewear. Br J Ophthalmol. 2020 Mar;104(3):297-298.
22. US. Food & Drug Administration. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA and CDC take action to increase access to respirators, including N95s, for health care personnel. Available at: http://s2027422842.t.en25.com/e/es?s=2027422842&e=307673&elqTrackId=376c.... Accessed 3/4/20.
23. US. Food & Drug Administration. Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: FDA issues new policy to help expedite availability of diagnostics. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19.... Accessed 3/4/20.
24. National Institutes of Health. NIH clinical trial of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 begins.
Available at: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-clinical-trial-remdesi.... Accessed 3/4/20.
25. Westman N. An experimental treatment for the new coronavirus is being tested in the US. The Verge. Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/26/21154220/coronavirus-experimental-tre.... Accessed 3/4/20.
26. Fickling D. What the coronavirus end game will look like. Yahoo! Finance. Available at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-end-game-look-000023845.html. Accessed 3/4/20.