Outbreak: 5th January to 23rd March 2020

I hesitated before going off-piste like this, and I have no particular point to make. But today my head is more suited for banging in nails than thinking. (You see what I mean? That sounds like I should be banging them in with my forehead or something, which is not exactly what I meant.)

Preamble: I never delete my web history. I never back it up, either, so when Po (my laptop) dies, so will my history. (You might think it is foolish to keep history, and that you should purge it every time you close the browser, etc, etc. You might think it even more foolish to have a name for your laptop. Don’t ask. Don’t ask me why Po hasn’t been shut down in three years either. Because reasons.)

Back in May I was searching said history for an early story about Covid. My personal memory is worse than Firefox’s, but I think I was searching for details about when flights were halted. Something like that. What met my eye was dozens of BBC news articles that I had read in those already half-forgotten days. For all my complaints about Aunty, I always read her headlines with my cornflakes. So I had an almost daily record of the developing pandemic as seen from the screen of Po over breakfast. What follows is unadulterated, unexpurgated, etc, etc. It is my web history at the nexus of BBC and Covid in the start of 2020. The first story I have is from the 5th of January. Obviously I tuned in more and more as the panic rose. The closing date is the start of lockdown: 78 days from normality to the near-collapse of civilisation (he said with only a trace of exaggeration).

Naturally this list does not tell the whole story. One day I might try to piece together a proper chronology of the outbreak – but I am not sure whether there will ever be an authoritative version of such a thing, with so much kept hidden from Western eyes. This particularly applies to the time before media articles began to appear. However.

I have salted the list with one or two stories about climate and other things in their correct place, as well as Cliscep blog posts showing the contemporary thoughts of authors and commenters. [These are in square brackets and are undated.]

Enjoy, if that is the right word, a high speed trip down Memory Lane.

05 January: China pneumonia: Sars ruled out as dozens fall ill in Wuhan
[Iran shoots down airliner]
17 January: New Chinese virus “will have infected hundreds”
20 January: Chinese coronavirus: Number of cases jumps as virus spreads to new cities
22 January: New China virus: Chinese officials advise against travel to Wuhan
22 January: Coronavirus: Wuhan to shut public transport over outbreak
23 January: Newspaper headlines: Fears over deadly virus and “sour” UK-US relations
25 January: China coronavirus accelerating, Xi Jinping warns
29 January: Coronavirus: BA suspends flights to and from mainland China
29 January: Coronavirus: Whole world must take action, warns WHO
30 January: Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO
01 February: Coronavirus: US and Australia close borders to Chinese arrivals†
01 February: Coronavirus: UK patient a University of York student
02 February: Coronavirus: First death outside China reported in Phillipines
03 February: Coronavirus: British Chinese people reveal prejudice amid outbreak
04 February: Coronavirus: China admits shortcomings and deficiencies
[Petrol and diesel vehicle ban brought forward to 2035]
[UK aviation industry vows net zero carbon by 2050]
05 February: Coronavirus: Final UK flight to bring home Britons from Wuhan
[Trump acquitted]
06 February: Coronavirus: The economic cost is rising in China and beyond
07 February: Li Wenliang: Death of Wuhan doctor sparks outpouring of anger
10 February: Coronavirus “imminent threat to public health”
11 February: Coronavirus disease named Covid-19
12 February: Coronavirus: “Way too early” to predict end of outbreak, WHO says
13 February: Coronavirus: No change in outbreak despite China spike, WHO says
13 February: Coronavirus: More may need to self-isolate to stop spread – NHS boss
14 February: Coronavirus: Beijing orders 14-day quarantine for returnees
14 February: Coronavirus: Why have two reporters in Wuhan disappeared?
15 February: Coronavirus: First death confirmed in Europe
16 February: Coronavirus: China enacts tighter restrictions in Hubei
[NYT: Senator Tom Cotton repeats fringe theory of coronavirus origins]
19 February: Coronavirus: How a misleading map went global
20 February: Coronavirus: South Korea confirms first death
21 February: Coronavirus: Pregnant nurse “propaganda” sparks backlash
22 February: Coronavirus: Evacuation flight for Britons on Diamond Princess due to land
22 February: Coronavirus: “Narrowing window” to contain outbreak, WHO says
22 February: Coronavirus: South Korea confirms huge rise in cases
23 February: Coronavirus: Italy imposes lockdown in outbreak hotspots
23 February: Coronavirus: Four new UK cases among ship evacuees
24 February: Coronavirus: North Korea quarantines foreigners
24 February: Coronavirus: Credit crunch hits millions of Chinese firms
24 February: Coronavirus: World must prepare for pandemic, says WHO
26 February: Coronavirus: Iran has no plans to quarantine cities, Rouhani says
26 February: Coronavirus cases surge to 400 in Italy
27 February: Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia bars pilgrims as global cases spread
28 February: Coronavirus: Markets fall as Covid-19 spreads around the world
28 February: Coronavirus: British man who was on Diamond Princess dies in Japan
28 February: Coronavirus fears wipe £200 billion off UK firms’ value
29 February: Coronavirus: South Korea sees its largest rise in coronavirus cases
29 February: Coronavirus: Iran’s deaths at least 210, hospital sources say
01 March: Coronavirus: NASA images show China pollution clear amid slowdown
01 March: Chinese manufacturing hits record low amid coronavirus outbreak
01 March: Coronavirus: Italian economy takes a body blow
01 March: Coronavirus: Thirteen more cases confirmed in UK
02 March: Coronavirus cases grow outside China as deaths mount
03 March: Coronavirus: China orders travellers quarantined amid outbreak
03 March: Coronavirus: “Pope tests negative” as global virus goes on
04 March: Coronavirus: Chinese app WeChat censored virus content since 1 Jan
04 March: Coronavirus panic: Why are people stockpiling toilet paper?
06 March: Coronavirus: Asian markets fall amid fears of economic slump
08 March: Coronavirus: Italy escalates response as virus spreads
08 March: Coronavirus: Italy death toll soars amid travel ban
[WUWT: Times: Coronavirus will kill all the old climate skeptics]
09 March: Newspaper headlines: Italy in coronavirus “chaos” and quarantine “farce”
09 March: Coronavirus: Italy starts week in lockdown as cases rise
[WUWT: AFP: The “silver lining” climate benefits of coronavirus will be undone by economic stimulus packages]
[Global shares plunge]
10 March: Coronavirus: Shares slip back as coronavirus fears persist
11 March: Coronavirus: Biggest daily rise as UK cases reach 460^
11 March: Coronavirus: Italy shuts nearly all shops as WHO declares pandemic
12 March: Coronavirus: Trump suspends travel from Europe to US
12 March: Coronavirus: UK shares suffer worst day since 1987
12 March: Coronavirus: Countries enforce mass closures to stem spread
[Cliscep: Into the Unknown]
13 March: Coronavirus: Big swings on Asian markets as coronavirus spreads
14 March: Coronavirus: UK deaths double in 24 hours*
14 March: Coronavirus: Jet2 flights to Spain turn around in mid-air over virus fears
14 March: Coronavirus: Italians sing from their windows to defy coronavirus
14 March: Coronavirus: Spain set to declare national lockdown
14 March: Coronavirus: Scientists say UK virus strategy is “risking lives”
15 March: Coronavirus: How close are we to a vaccine?
15 March: Coronavirus: Europe battens down the hatches as Italy deaths rise
15 March: Coronavirus: EU states record highest one-day death toll
[Cliscep: Don’t just run the country – do something!]
16 March: Coronavirus: US volunteers to test first vaccine
16 March: Coronavirus: Stocks plunge despite global central bank action
16 March: Coronavirus: France “at war” says Macron
16 March: Coronavirus: Trump says coronavirus crisis may last all summer
16 March: Coronavirus kindness: The people offering to help as the virus spreads
16 March: Coronavirus spreading more rapidly in London, PM says
17 March: Coronavirus: Stocks rocked by record volatility
17 March: Newspaper headlines: “Life put on hold” as UK begins coronavirus “lockdown”**
[Cliscep: Books to die for]
17 March: Coronavirus updates: World leaders boost cash help to counter virus fallout
18 March: Sainsbury’s limits sales of all food items amid stockpiling
18 March: Coronavirus: Asian nations face virus battle amid WHO warning
18 March: Coronavirus updates: EU seals borders as supermarkets battle hoarding
18 March: Coronavirus: Vanessa Hudgens sorry for “people are going to die” comments
18 March: Coronavirus: Pound plunges to its lowest level in over 30 years
18 March: Coronavirus: Liverpool restaurant owner “could never repay loan”
19 March: Newspaper headlines: UK schools close as London “prepares for shutdown”
19 March: ECB launches emergency €750bn coronavirus package
19 March: Coronavirus: Energy bill help for vulnerable amid outbreak
19 March: Coronavirus: Knottingley food bank closes after raid
19 March: Coronavirus: Queen urges UK to “work as one” in message to nation
19 March: Coronavirus: Italy’s death toll overtakes China’s
19 March: Coronavirus: Iranians urged to stay home during holiday
20 March: Coronavirus: California issues state-wide “stay at home” order
20 March: Coronavirus: How to help kids cope with life without school
20 March: Is Iran covering up its outbreak?
20 March: Coronavirus updates: Boris Johnson announces stricter new measures
20 March: Coronavirus: US Senators face calls to resign over “insider trading”
20 March: Coronavirus: Four members of New Jersey family die
21 March: Coronavirus: One in five Americans ordered to stay at home
21 March: Coronavirus: Last night of the pubs as lockdown begins
21 March: Coronavirus: Social distancing enforced globally
21 March: Newspaper headlines: Wage bailout as “Britain shuts down”
21 March: Coronavirus: “My virtual date sent me £15 for wine”
22 March: Coronavirus: Seaside visitors defy social distancing advice
22 March: Coronavirus: “Unprecedented scenes” on Welsh hills
22 March: Coronavirus: PM Johnson orders special steps to “shield vulnerable”
22 March: Coronavirus: When will the outbreak end and life get back to normal?
22 March: Step-by-step guide: How to video call your family
22 March: Coronavirus: Germany tightens curbs and bans meetings of more than two
23 March: Newspaper headlines: 24 hours to avoid complete lockdown, PM warns
23 March: People who ignore government advice “selfish”
23 March: Coronavirus updates: “You must stay at home” UK public told
17 days later………………..[Cliscep: Have we won?]

Notes

† From the article, 1st February 2020 re: US and Australia closing borders:

…global health officials have advised against such measures. “Travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

And:

China has criticised the wave of travel restrictions, accusing foreign governments of ignoring official advice. “Just as the WHO recommended against travel restrictions, the US rushed in the opposite direction,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. “[It is] certainly not a gesture of goodwill.”

^ Context for that figure of 460 cases on 11 March 2020: yesterday’s update (28 September 2021) reported 34,500 confirmed cases.

* The number of deaths reported on 14 March 2020 was actually 18. This addition probably more than doubled the existing. For context, yesterday’s (28 September 2021) total was 167. For more context, on lockdown day, 23rd March 2020, 76 deaths were reported. But this was the beginning of an exponential upswing.

** 17th March 2020 was the start of lockdown lite. Boris said to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.

Featured image: UKHSA.gov.uk.

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September 29, 2021 at 01:48PM

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