The initial outbreak occurred in Wuhan sometime late last year. At Axios, Scott Rosenberg sums up what happened then.
- In early January, China posted the virus' genome for all to study — and later that month, China put strict measures in place that helped eventually limit its outbreak.
- Communities around the globe that had previous experience with the SARS outbreak prepared early and have so far avoided the worst impacts.
- The U.S. bought itself some extra time by screening passengers from Wuhan mid-January and advising against unnecessary travel to China later that month.
- But the U.S. squandered that time — failing to resolve the breakdown of its testing system, to ramp up production of masks and ventilators, or to move quickly on social distancing measures.
- Invalid comparisons with seasonal flu outbreaks led individuals and leaders to downplay the virus’ danger.
- Our errors have all been on the side of underestimating the virus and, despite warnings, under-preparing for the crisis.
The mess continues. Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey at WP:
Eager to demonstrate that he is in control of a viral outbreak that is spreading rapidly across the country, President Trump has ramped up efforts to show he is using some of his broadest powers as commander in chief.
But the unprecedented push has been plagued by growing confusion about how far his authorities actually extend and how much he is willing to use them.
He blindsided New York’s governor Saturday by publicly announcing a potential quarantine order on the state’s residents, only to retreat from the idea hours later. This came a day after he authorized his government to use the Defense Production Act, a move on which he’d been taking an on-again, off-again stance, but it remains unclear whether that power will be used.
And he is due to issue new guidelines next week about whether the country should continue social distancing practices — but he’s vacillated between all but declaring victory against the coronavirus and acceding to experts who say the national slowdown may have to continue for several more weeks.