Mar 28, 2020 - Health

1-minute read: 10 fact-based steps to a virus crisis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

News about the coronavirus is so big and coming so fast that it's hard to remember what happened just last week, let alone last month.

Here's the quickest possible review of the story so far — how it happened and how the U.S. lost control.

  1. The first known cases in Wuhan emerged in November or December, and Chinese officials spent part of January downplaying the problem.
  2. 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.
  3. Communities around the globe that had previous experience with the SARS outbreak prepared early and have so far avoided the worst impacts.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Invalid comparisons with seasonal flu outbreaks led individuals and leaders to downplay the virus’ danger.
  7. For now, until we develop treatments and vaccines, distance and hygiene are the only weapons against the spread of this new virus.
  8. Shutdowns cause widespread economic harm. So does mass illness. Economies can recover. The dead can’t.
  9. Our errors have all been on the side of underestimating the virus and, despite warnings, under-preparing for the crisis.
  10. Whatever mistakes lie behind us, each day offers new chances to limit future harm.

Go deeper

17 hours ago - Health

Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response

Protesters in Philadelphia on June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests against police brutality have prompted the closure of coronavirus test sites across the country, including in Pennsylvania, Florida, California and Illinois, Politico reports.

Why it matters: This adds to concerns that the protests themselves create an environment in which the virus can easily spread, particularly if and when protesters aren't wearing masks or social distancing.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in Washington, D.C., and New York City, where Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) announced late Tuesday that she's headed for Manhattan Bridge following reports of police kettling in protesters. "This is dangerous," she tweeted.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).