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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

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Updated Aug 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's coronavirus aid action

President Trump speaks to workers at a manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, on Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing President Trump Saturday night for taking executive action on coronavirus aid, with Democratic leaders demanding the GOP return to negotiations after stimulus package talks broke down a day earlier.

Why it matters: Trump could face legal challenges on his ability to act without congressional approval, where the constitutional power lies on federal spending. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the most vocal Republican critic, saying in a statement: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."