Monday, November 30, 2020

Exmoor Body mystery

The Exmoor Body mystery concerns the remains of an unidentified murder victim found on Windsford Hill, near Winsford, Somerset on 13 March 2002. Discovery: The body was discovered on moorland near Halse Lane on Windsford Hill in March 2002 by a park ranger who didn't open the bags and assumed they were animal remains. The remains were taken to the Devon and Somerset stag hounds kennels where there is an incinerator. After several days the bags were opened and the remains were discovered to be human. Identification attempts: Examination of the body showed that he was a man in his mid-20s to mid-30s. A distinctive gold pendant he wore with verse 255 from the Quran led investigators to consider that he may be a Muslim. He suffered injuries consistent with a violent death between late 1999 and 2000. He may have been buried on Exmoor at some time after May 2001. Burial: The body was buried in an Islamic funeral in a cemetery in Watchet. Appeals: There were numerous appeals for information on his identity in 2002 including international enquiries as well as a TV reconstruction. In 2017 a new appeal was launched as he still had not been identified, even though a full DNA profile had been created.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

National responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, national responses have been varied, and have included containment measures such as lockdowns, quarantines, and curfews. As of 29 November 2020, more than 62.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in more than 191 countries and territories, resulting in more than 1.45 million deaths. More than 39.9 million people have recovered from the virus. The most affected countries in terms of confirmed cases are the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Peru, Mexico, Chile, the United Kingdom, and Iran. Lockdowns: The pandemic has caused worldwide curfews and similar restrictions (stay-at-home orders, shelter-in-place orders, shutdowns/lockdowns) established to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has resulted in the largest amount of shutdowns/lockdowns worldwide at the same time in history. By 26 March, 1.7 billion people worldwide were under some form of lockdown, which increased to 3.9 billion people by the first week of April — more than half of the world's population. As of 12 April, nearly 300 million people, or about 90 per cent of the population, are under some form of lockdown in the United States, more than 50 million people are in lockdown in the Philippines, about 59 million people are in lockdown in South Africa, and 1.3 billion people are in lockdown in India. Africa- Ghana: The first two cases of the corona virus disease was confirmed on 12th March 2020, when two infected people came to Ghana; one from Norway and the other from Turkey. On 11 March, President Nana Akufo-Addo directed the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to make the cedi equivalent of $US100 million available to enhance Ghana's coronavirus preparedness and response plan. The Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund was also initiated to aid in the fight against the pandemic. Bans and Lock downs: On 15 March, at 10 pm, President Nana Akufo-Addo banned all public gatherings including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, church activities and other related events to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at a press briefing on the state of COVID-19. Basic schools, senior high schools and universities, both public and private, have also been closed. Only BECE and WASSCE candidates were permitted to remain in school under social distancing protocols. The use of Veronica buckets have become very popular in Ghana following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as citizens engage in frequent hand washing to stem its spread. On 30 March, the partial lock down of Accra and Kumasi took effect. In April 2020, At a press briefing, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, announced the commencement of local production of nose masks as part of efforts to arrest the spread of the pandemic. According to the new Executive Instrument, E.I. 164, signed by the President on 15 June 2020, people who refuse to wear face masks in public could face jail terms of between 4–10 years or a fine of between GHS12,000 (approx US$2,065) and GHS60,000 (approx US$10,320) or both would be made. This came after the mandatory wearing of nose masks. Government responses: From April 3, over 464 markets were disenfected across the country. The second phase of nation wide fumigation begun in July. On 23 September, the MoE with GES collaborated with Zoomlion to disinfect SHS across Ghana to pave way for the reopening of schools. The Finance Minister claimed in his report that the Government spent about 54.3 million Ghana cedis to provide cooked and uncooked food to the vulnerable during the 3-week lockdown. He also claimed Government would provide free electricity and water for the rest of 2020. The Parliament of Ghana granted a tax waiver of GHS174 million cedis (equivalent to US$30 million) on income taxes of frontline workers. This spanned for three months from July to September 2020. On 15 October, the MoH received a Covid-19 AI software for detecting the virus on Chest X-rays. Government also relaunched the GH COVID-19 tracker app after it was launched on April 13. Various treatment centers were built across the country such as the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre, to help in the National COVID-19 Treatment. Ghana became the first country to use drone aircraft in the fight against the pandemic through the transport of Covid-19 test samples. Namibia: On 17 March President Hage Geingob declared a state of emergency as a legal basis to restrict fundamental rights. The prohibition of large gatherings was clarified to apply to 50 or more people. Measures such as the closure of all borders, suspension of gatherings were implemented. All public and private schools were also closed for a month. By 14 April, a National lockdown was enforced to all regions in the country. Access to information and surveillance: A COVID-19 communication hotline (0800100100) was established on 15 March 2020 which is run by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Centre for Disease Control of Namibia (CDC). The hotline serves to answer general enquiries of the public, assisting persons seeking guidance from the Ministry and reporting possible symptoms or cases of COVID-19. The Government also announced on 18 March that it will strengthen their communication to the public via various platforms, such as the COVID-19 communication centre operated by NBC, in an attempt to "mitigate and refute misinformation, fear and panic especially from social media". The centre was fully functional by middle April 2020. With the establishment of a multi-disciplinary Emergency Response team, the Ministry intensified their surveillance in monitoring the situation of COVID-19 in the country, especially at the borders of Namibia. The response team operates 24/7. Testing: Before the confirmation of COVID-19 in Namibia, tests could not be done locally. Test samples were instead sent to South Africa, which accounted for longer than usual waiting times. Namibian Institute of Pathology (NIP) started testing locally in Windhoek at the end of March 2020. In late April, private laboratory PathCare started testing samples. Namibia was hit by a lack of reagents at the end of April, which slowed down testing however, private testing at PathCare was expensive compared to the that of the state (NIP) which offers free COVID-19 tests. Economic stimulus package: An Emergency Income Grant was set up by government to distribute N$ 750 to every person whose income was affected by the pandemic or faced difficult conditions due to the lockdown. Over 800,000 people applied for this grant; 346,000 of them were paid by the end of April. South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that South Africa would undergo a national lockdown, for a period of 21 days, from 26 March to 16 April 2020. This drastic measure was intended to help keep the viral infection rate as low as possible and save lives. On Thursday 9 April, President Ramaphosa announced an extension of two weeks to the lockdown, until the end of April. Exempt from the lockdown are people deemed necessary for the effective response to the pandemic such as health workers, pharmacy and laboratory personnel, emergency personnel, security services, supermarkets, transportation and logistical services, petrol stations, banks, essential financial as well as payment services and those working in industries that can affect the economy when shut down. This include mines and steel mills. Testing: The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) started testing people in South Africa for SARS-CoV-2 on 28 January 2020, and by 7 February had conducted 42 of such tests. State hospitals were offering free COVID-19 testing by mid-March. On 30 March 2020, the government announced its intentions of initiating an enhanced screening and testing programme. By the start of April, 67 mobile testing units had been established and 47000 people had been tested, some in drive-through facilities. Clinical trials, vaccines and treatment: On 17 March 2020, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority announced that it would expedite review of treatments, vaccines and clinical trials. A team from 8 universities and 14 hospitals led by Helen Rees and Jeremy Nel from the University of the Witwatersrand participated in the World Health Organization Solidarity Clinical Trials that investigated medications. A COVID-19 vaccine trial was launched in Gauteng province, towards the end of June 2020 in collaboration with the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. A second vaccine trial was launched during mid August 2020 in collaboration with a US Maryland based biotechnology company, Novavax, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A third vaccine trial was launched in September 2020 by Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. Asia- China: The first person known to have fallen ill due to the new virus was in Wuhan on 1 December 2019. A public notice on the outbreak was released by Wuhan health authority on 31 December; the initial notice informed Wuhan residents that there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, that the disease is preventable and controllable, and that people can wear masks when going out. WHO was informed of the outbreak on the same day. On 7 January 2020, the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee discussed novel coronavirus prevention and control. The Wuhan government, which announced a number of new measures such as cancelling the Chinese New Year celebrations, in addition to measures such as checking the temperature of passengers at transport terminals first introduced on 14 January. A quarantine was announced on 23 January 2020 stopping travel in and out of Wuhan. A group tasked with the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic was established on 26 January, led by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The leading group decided to extend the Spring Festival holiday to contain the outbreak. China Customs started requiring that all passengers entering and exiting China fill in an extra health declaration form from 26 January. The health declaration form was mentioned in China's Frontier Health and Quarantine Law, granting the customs rights to require it if needed. On 27 January, the General Office of the State Council of China, declared a nation-wide extension on the New Year holiday and the postponement of the coming spring semester. The office extended the previously scheduled public holiday from 30 January, to 2 February, while it said school openings for the spring semester would be announced in the future. Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared an emergency at a press conference on 25 January, saying the government would close primary and secondary schools for two more weeks on top of the previously scheduled New Year holiday, pushing the date for school reopening to 17 February. Macau closed several museums and libraries, and prolonged the New Year holiday break to 11 February for higher education institutions and 10 February for others. On 1 February 2020, Xinhua News reported that China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) had "asked procuratorates nationwide to fully play their role to create a favourable judicial environment in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic." This included severe punishments for those found guilty of dereliction of duty and the withholding of information for officials. Tougher charges were proscribed for commercial criminal activities such as increasing prices, profiteering along with the "production and sale of fake and shoddy protective equipment and medicines." Prosecuting actions against patients who deliberately spread the infection or refuse examination or compulsory isolation along with threats of violence against medical personnel were also urged. The statement also included urging to prosecute those found fabricating and spreading coronavirus-related information and also stressed "harshly punishing the illegal hunting of wildlife under state protection, as well as improving inspection and quarantine measures for fresh food and meat products." Quarantine: On 23 January 2020, a quarantine on travel in and out of Wuhan was imposed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus out of Wuhan. Flights, trains, public buses, the metro system, and long-distance coaches were suspended indefinitely. Large-scale gatherings and group tours were also suspended. By 24 January 2020, a total of 15 cities in Hubei, including Wuhan, were placed under similar quarantine measures. Before the quarantine began, some in Wuhan questioned the reliability of the figures from the Chinese government as well as the government response, with some calling for quarantine, and a post also showed sick people and three dead bodies covered in white sheets on the floor of a hospital on 24 January, although many such posts in Weibo about the epidemic have since been deleted. Due to quarantine measures, Wuhan residents rushed to stockpile essential goods, food, and fuel; prices rose significantly. 5,000,000 people left Wuhan, with 9,000,000 left in the city. The city of Shantou in Guangdong declared a partial lockdown on 26 January, though this was reversed two hours later. Local authorities in Beijing and several other major cities, including Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, announced on the same day that these cities will not impose a lockdown similar to those in Hubei province. By 6 February 2020, a total of four Zhejiang cities—Wenzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Taizhou—were under the "passport" system, allowing only one person per household to leave their home every two days. These restrictions apply to over 30 million people. Speciality hospitals: A speciality hospital named Huoshenshan Hospital has been constructed as a countermeasure against the outbreak and to better quarantine the patients. Wuhan City government had demanded that a state-owned enterprise construct such a hospital "at the fastest speed" comparable to that of the SARS outbreak in 2003. Upon opening, the speciality hospital had 1,000 beds and took up 30,000 square metres. The hospital is modelled after the Xiaotangshan Hospital, which was fabricated for the SARS outbreak of 2003, itself built in only seven days. On 24 January 2020, the authority announced that they would convert an empty building in Huangzhou District, Huanggang to a 1,000-bed hospital named Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre. Works began the next day by 500 personnel and the building began accepting patients on 28 January 2020 at 10:30 pm. In Wuhan, authorities seized dormitories, offices and hospitals to create more beds for patients. On 25 January authorities announced plans for Leishenshan Hospital, a second speciality hospital, with a capacity of 1,600 beds; operations are scheduled to start by 6 February. The hospital opened on 8 February. By 16 February 2020, 217 teams of a total of 25,633 medical workers from across China went to Wuhan and other cities in Hubei to help open up more facilities and treat patients. A total of 14 temporary hospitals were constructed in China in total, but all were reported to have closed after the crisis was determined be under control on 10 March 2020. Censorship and police responses: The early response by city authorities was criticised as prioritising a control of information that might be unfavorable for local officials over public safety, and China was also criticised for cover-ups and downplaying the initial discovery and severity of the outbreak. By the time China had informed the WHO of the new coronavirus on 31 December 2019, The New York Times reported that the government was still keeping "its own citizens in the dark". Observers have attributed this to the censorship institutional structure of the country's press and Internet, exacerbated by China's paramount leader Xi Jinping's crackdown on independent oversight such as journalism and social media that left senior officials with inaccurate information on the outbreak and "contributed to a prolonged period of inaction that allowed the virus to spread". A group of eight medical personnel, including Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist from Wuhan Central Hospital who in late December posted warnings on a new coronavirus strain akin to SARS, were taken into custody by Wuhan police and threatened with prosecution for "spreading rumours" for likening it to SARS. Li Wenliang later died of the disease on 7 February, and was widely hailed as a whistleblower in China, but some of the trending hashtags on Weibo such as "Wuhan government owes Dr Li Wenliang an apology" and "We want freedom of speech" were blocked. His death widespread public anger in the aftermath, in what has been described as "one of the biggest outpourings of online criticism of the government in years," was not a topic that was permitted for coverage. On 20 January, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping made his first public remark on the outbreak and spoke of "the need for the timely release of information". One day later, the CPC Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the most powerful political organ in China overseeing legal enforcement and the police, wrote "self-deception will only make the epidemic worse and turn a natural disaster that was controllable into a man-made disaster at great cost," and "only openness can minimise panic to the greatest extent." The commission then added, "anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of cases out of self-interest will be nailed on a pillar of shame for eternity." Xi Jinping later also instructed authorities "to strengthen the guidance of public opinions", language which some viewed as a call for censorship after social media users became increasingly critical and angry at the government. On 30 January, China's Supreme Court, delivered a rare rebuke against the country's police forces, calling the "unreasonably harsh crackdown on online rumours" as undermining public trust. As part of the central government's "bifurcated approach to diffuse discontent", citizens were permitted to criticise local officials so long as they did not "question the basic legitimacy of the party". The Cyberspace Administration (CAC) declared its intent to foster a "good online atmosphere," with CAC notices sent to video platforms encouraging them to "not to push any negative story, and not to conduct non-official livestreaming on the virus." Censorship has been observed being applied on news articles and social media posts deemed to hold negative tones about COVID-19 and the governmental response, including posts mocking Xi Jinping for not visiting areas of the epidemic, an article that predicted negative effects of the epidemic on the economy, and calls to remove local government officials. While censorship had been briefly relaxed giving a "window of about two weeks in which Chinese journalists were able to publish hard-hitting stories exposing the mishandling of the novel coronavirus by officials", since then private news outlets were reportedly required to use "planned and controlled publicity" with the authorities' consent. Approval of Chinese responses: China's response to the virus, in comparison to the 2003 SARS outbreak, has been praised by some foreign leaders and analysts. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated on February that it was clear "there is a massive effort that is made by China in order to contain the disease and avoid its propagation" and added the effort was "remarkable". U.S. President Trump thanked Chinese leader Xi Jinping "on behalf of the American People" on 24 January on Twitter, stating that "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency." Germany's health minister Jens Spahn, in an interview on Bloomberg TV, said with comparison to the Chinese response to SARS in 2003: "There's a big difference to SARS. We have a much more transparent China. The action of China is much more effective in the first days already." He also praised the international co-operation and communication in dealing with the virus. In a letter to Xi, Singaporean president Halimah Yacob applauded China's "swift, decisive and comprehensive measures" in safeguarding the health of the Chinese people, while prime minister Lee Hsien Loong remarked of "China's firm and decisive response" in communities affected by the virus. Similar sentiments were expressed by Russian president Vladimir Putin. At a Sunday mass at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on 26 January, Pope Francis praised "the great commitment by the Chinese community that has already been put in place to combat the epidemic" and commenced a closing prayer for "the people who are sick because of the virus that has spread through China". Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates defended the nation's COVID-19 response amidst criticism from the Trump administration, saying "China did a lot of things right at the beginning" and that "they got to zero" with "an effective lockdown". Papers from academic journals and publishers such as Science Magazine, Nature, The Lancet, and Karger have regarded China's measures to contain the coronavirus in its own country to be effective. A study in March published in Science Magazine concluded that the Wuhan travel ban and national emergency response there may have prevented more than 700,000 COVID-19 cases outside the city. India: The Indian government airlifted 324 of its citizens from China on 31 January and 1 February via Air India special chartered flights. After Pakistan's refusal to evacuate its students from Wuhan, the Indian government offered to support them with evacuation along with citizens of other neighbouring countries. On 17 February, India announced a special C-17 Globemaster flight carrying medical supplies to support China in Wuhan and evacuating citizens of India and neighbouring countries. India eventually evacuated 647 people including citizens of Maldives and Bangladesh. On 15 March, after a video conference of SAARC leaders, PM Narendra Modi allocated ₹74 crore (US$10 million) of funds classified as COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the SAARC countries. As a precautionary measure, India closed all of its international land borders on 16 March. On 22 March, India locked down places where cases had been confirmed—82 districts in 22 states and Union Territories—until 31 March, although essential services and commodities were to continue. 80 cities including major cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur, Varanasi and Raipur were also put under lockdown. On 24 March, the government announced a nationwide lockdown to be in effect for 21 days from 25 March until 14 April. This lockdown included Indian Railways, the biggest employer in India; it was the first shutdown of the trains in 167 years. Indonesia: Many Indonesians criticised the government for a slow response and downplaying the pandemic. WHO, Australian government, and United States embassy in Indonesia have expressed their doubts about the Indonesian government's response to the pandemic. The governor of West Sumatra province, Irwan Prayitno faced backlash for accepting 174 tourists from China to the province. 174 Chinese tourists from Kunming arrived at Minangkabau International Airport at Padang Pariaman Regency as Citilink adds Padang – Kunming route. Prayitno received further backlash after welcoming the group of tourists himself at the airport and giving them a "grand welcome" with a cultural parade. The move angered local residents who demanded the governor return the group to China. Health experts are concerned that the country is failing to identify the transmission of the virus. Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, "analysed air traffic out of the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak in China and suggested in a report ... that Indonesia might have missed cases" of coronavirus. Western diplomats as well as local and international news outlets postulated that the lack of cases within Indonesia result from inadequate testing and under reporting, as opposed to sheer luck and divine intervention. The government faced a backlash after instead pledging to set aside IDR 72 billion ($5m) to pay for social media influencers to attract tourists to Indonesia. Indonesian president Joko Widodo has been criticised by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, human rights groups, and by political parties including Golkar and Partai Keadilan Sejahtera for a lack of transparency regarding the information on COVID-19. Widodo has insisted not to share with the travel history details of patients tested positive with coronavirus in an attempt to reduce panic and uneasiness in the general public. Iran: Iran reported its first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections on 19 February 2020 in Qom, where according to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, both had died later that day. Early measures announced by the government included the cancellation of concerts and other cultural events, sporting events, and Friday prayers, closure of universities, higher education institutions and schools, and allocated 5 trillion rials to combat the virus. President Hassan Rouhani said on 26 February 2020 that there were no plans to quarantine areas affected by the outbreak, and only individuals would be quarantined. However, Shia shrines in Qom remained open to pilgrims. Iran became a center of the spread of the virus after China. Amidst claims of a cover-up of the extent of the outbreak in the country, over ten countries have traced their cases back to Iran, indicating that the extent of the outbreak may be more severe than that admitted by the Iranian government. The Iranian Parliament was shut down, with 23 of the 290 members of parliament reported to have had tested positive for the virus on 3 March. A number of senior government officials as well as two members of parliament have died from the disease. Criticism against Iranian government's responses: Iranians criticized government authorities for proceeding with elections while the disease was spreading and closing secular spaces while keeping shrines open, especially in the Shia holy city of Qom. Asif Shuja of the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute suggested that "the fact that Iran reported deaths on the same day as its first infections right before its parliamentary elections 'can compel anyone' that there has been a cover-up". Scrutiny has also been targeted at the government's unwillingness to implement area-wide quarantine measures like those implemented by China and Italy, with Iranian officials calling quarantines "old-fashioned." There have been concerns that the Iranian government's official counts were an underestimate. The WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that "the WHO has its "own mechanism" for checking facts and has not seen problems with Iran's reported figures". Japan: On 27 February 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested that all Japanese elementary, junior high, and high schools close until early April to help contain the virus. The outbreak has been a concern for the 2020 Summer Olympics which is scheduled to take place in Tokyo starting at the end of July. The Japanese government has thus been taking extra precautions to help minimise the outbreak's impact. The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee have negotiated postponement of Summer Olympics until 2021. Criticism against Japanese government's responses: Foreign Policy and the Guardian reported that the diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea worsened, as South Korea criticized Japan's "ambiguous and passive quarantine efforts". On March 5, Japan announced that it would strengthen quarantine for new entrants from China and South Korea and add some areas of Iran to the target area. The Chinese authorities showed their understanding of the decision, but the Japanese media and South Korean government criticized it. The Japanese media said that the decision was too late because they were too careful with China, and the Korean government turned it into a political issue. Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has been criticized for a perceived delayed response. Critics have observed that while Japan announced the first case of infection on 28 January, it took until 17 February for the Health Ministry to inform the public on how to reach public screening centers and 25 February, for the government to issue a "basic policy" on outbreak response. The strict constraints on testing for the virus by Japanese health authorities have drawn accusations from critics such as Masahiro Kami, a hematologist and director of the Medical Governance Research Institute but not an infectious disease expert, towards Abe of wanting to "downplay the number of infections or patients because of the upcoming Olympics." But the fact-checking in some media later reported to proved that it was fake news that 'the number of infected people was being reduced for the Olympics by the government.' Reports that only a small select number of public health facilities were authorized to test for the virus, after which the results could only be processed by five government-approved companies, has created a bottleneck where clinics have been forced to turn away even patients who had high fevers. This has led some experts to question Japan's official case numbers, with Tobias Harris, of Teneo Intelligence in Washington, D.C. stating "You wonder, if they were testing nearly as much as South Korea is testing, what would the actual number be? How many cases are lurking and just aren't being caught?" As mentioned above, there were many articles criticizing the small number of PCR tests in Japan compared to South Korea, mainly in the Japanese and Korean media. However, the number of PCR tests in Japan at that time was actually not small at all. According to data released by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare the Japanese authorities conducted PCR tests of 10,205 as of March 13 and 15,655 as of March 17, except for those returning from China by charter flight and passengers on the cruise ship. The number of tests in Japan appears to be small compared to 320,000 in China, 250,000 in South Korea, 86,000 in Italy, and 77,000 in Russia. However, only 30,000 in the UK, 16,000 in Taiwan, and the United States had a higher number of tests than Japan except for that four countries. In terms of population ratio, the ranking was lower, but the number of tests in Japan was still at the average level. The quarantine measures on the cruise ship Diamond Princess has also been criticised, even though there is no obligation under the international law to accept port calls for Japan and except for Japanese nationals on board, there is no obligation in Japan to treat all passengers, and the treatment is a good faith act, and the quarantine was the exercise of provisions in accordance with international and domestic laws. But Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease professor at Kobe University Hospital, said that "the condition aboard was completely chaotic" and "violating all infection control principles". Dr. Yoshihiro Takayama, a member of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare who helped Iwata board the ship, said that Iwata had fight with DMAT members about his separate action and was forced to disembark in two hours, so he just looked around the lounge. A preliminary report by Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) estimated that most of the transmission on the ship had occurred before the quarantine, based on the first 184 cases. On 22 February, the Health Ministry admitted that 23 passengers were disembarked without being properly tested for the virus. On 23 February, a Japanese woman who tested negative before disembarking from the cruise ship later tested positive after returning to her home in Tochigi Prefecture. She was not among the 23 passengers. Many passengers who were negative in the PCR test were tested positive after disembarking. Philippines: The first COVID-19 death outside China occurred in the Philippines on 1 February. On 9 March 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte suspended classes in all levels in Metro Manila from 10 to 15 March. The class suspension in Metro Manila was extended to 12 April, following the decision of concerned authorities to raise the COVID-19 alert level in the country to Code Red Sublevel 2. Work in the executive branch of the government was also suspended for the same period as part of the Stringent Social Distancing Measures in the National Capital Region (NCR), with the directive for the concerned government agencies to form skeletal forces to ensure the delivery of basic services. Congress and the Judiciary were encouraged to do the same. Agencies providing law enforcement services, health services, and emergency services were enjoined to continue to operate at full capacity. Other salient directives, contained in a resolution adopted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and announced by the Philippine President on 12 March, at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang Palace, included, the prohibition of mass gatherings that could strain the resources of the host community, imposition of community quarantine over Metro Manila, and encouragement of flexible work arrangements for the private sector among others. A memorandum containing the guidelines for stringent social distancing measures and the management of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region was issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea by order of the president on 13 March. Among the directives embodied in the memorandum were suspension of classes and all school activities until 14 April, prohibition of mass gatherings, imposition of strict social distancing during essential meetings and religious activities, and provisions for alternative and/or flexible work arrangements. On 16 March, the president signed Proclamation No. 929 declaring a state of calamity throughout the country for a period of six months, bringing into effect the price control of basic needs and commodities, granting of interest-free loans, distribution of calamity funds and hazard allowance for public health workers and government personnel in the fields of science and technology. President Duterte also placed the island of Luzon (including its associated islands) under enhanced community quarantine on 16 March that further restricted the movement of people through the suspension of mass public transport and the closure of non-essential establishments. Business Process Outsourcing and export-oriented businesses were allowed to continue operation subject to certain conditions. Relevant government agencies were ordered to provide social amelioration measures. Following the sharp increase of confirmed cases, President Duterte called Congress to a special session to "authorize the President to exercise powers necessary to carry out urgent measures to meet the current national emergency related to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)." South Korea: The first confirmed case of the coronavirus was identified with a 35-year-old Chinese woman on 20 January. The first South Korean national to be infected occurred three days later was a 55-year-old man who worked in Wuhan and returned for a checkup with flu symptoms. The two infection reports were publicly released on 24 January. The sixth patient was the first case in South Korea who had never visited Wuhan. The 56-year-old man caught the virus when visiting a restaurant with the third patient. A woman, who had returned from Thailand after a five-day vacation, was tested positive and confirmed as the sixteenth case on 4 February. Three more cases were confirmed on 5 February, bringing the total case count to 19. The seventeenth and nineteenth patients had attended a conference in Singapore and been in contact with an infected person there. The very same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Korea (KCDC) announced that the second patient had been released from hospital after being tested negative in consecutive tests, becoming the country's first coronavirus patient to fully recover. On 19 February, the number of confirmed cases increased by 20. On 20 February 70 new cases were confirmed, giving a total of 104 confirmed cases, according to the KCDC. According to Reuters, KCDC attributed the sudden jump to 70 cases linked to "Patient No. 31", who had participated in a gathering in Daegu at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. On 20 February, the streets of Daegu were empty in reaction to the Shincheonji outbreak. A resident described the reaction, stating "It's like someone dropped a bomb in the middle of the city. It looks like a zombie apocalypse." The first death was reported in a mental ward of Cheongdo Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo County. According to the mayor of Daegu, the number of suspected cases as of 21 February was 544 among 4,400 examined followers of the church. The hospital was suspected as the source of the present outbreak after it was visited by a woman who became the second fatal case of Korea on that day. The infection spread outside via a funeral ceremony attended by members of the church. All South Korean military bases were on lockdown after tests confirmed that three soldiers were indeed positive for the virus. Airlines cut connections and cultural schedules were being cancelled due to fears of further spread. United States Forces Korea raised the alert level from low to moderate and cut off non-essential travel to and from USFK Daegu. USFK Daegu's school facilities were closed and non-essential personnel were ordered to stay at home while any visitors going there were not allowed to enter. USFK announced that the widow of a retired soldier who was in Daegu was diagnosed to be positive for the virus on 24 February. Camp Humphreys enacted virus detection protocols, including temperature checks and raised the alert level to high. On 26 February, an American soldier based at Camp Carroll was diagnosed to be positive and was quarantined away from bases via off-base housing unit with contact tracing done that showed his movements to Camp Walker. As of 22 February, among 9,336 followers of the church, 1,261 reported symptoms. At the time, 169 confirmed cases involved the church and another 111 came from the Cheongdo Daenam Hospital. 23 February saw another 123 cases with 75 being from Shincheonji and 24 February saw 161 additional cases with 129 being from the religious group. Over 27,000 people have been tested for the virus with 19,127 negative results. On 24 February, 15 countries imposed travel restrictions to and from South Korea. It was also reported that a senior health official overseeing the COVID-19 efforts in Daegu tested positive and was also a member of Shincheonji. Within a few days, a petition to the nation's president urging for the disbandment of the church had over 750,000 signatures. Their headquarters in Gwacheon was raided by law enforcement; government officials said all 245,000 members of the religious group would be found and tested. On 28 February, over 2,000 confirmed cases were reported, rising to 3,150 on 29 February. On 8 March, KCDC in South Korea announced that 79.4% of confirmed COVID-19 cases were related to group infection. KCDC also announced that outbreak associated with Shincheonji Church totaled 4,482 infections, accounting for 62.8% of the total confirmed cases. 13 March was the first time since the outbreak on 20 January in which the number of recoveries, 177, was larger than the number of those who newly tested positive, 110. As infection rates have risen outside Korea leading to increases of sick arriving in the country (476 of 9,661 cases were imported as of 30 March), the KCDC implemented stronger infectious disease control measures for travelers coming from overseas as of 1 April. By 9 April 2020, South Korea had about 10,423 cases and 204 deaths, with over 494,711 people having been tested, a case fatality rate of 1.95%, which is lower than the WHO's global case fatality rate of 4.34%. Seeing the infodemic on COVID-19 information starting in China and spreading to Korea and the US, fake news researcher Cha Meeyoung of KAIST and the Institute for Basic Science, along with researchers from Ewha Womans University, started the multilingual Facts Before Rumors campaign to separate common claims seen online. By 17 April, the KCDC stated that it knew of 163 patients who were said to have recovered, but again tested positive. The exact cause was not known but they stated several possibilities. After several days with new infections numbering in the single digits (April 18, 20, 22), the government announced it was going to start lifting restrictions starting with stores, restaurants, gyms, cram schools, bars, and religious services; which is notable as most of the nation's infections came from places of worship. In coming weeks, arboretums, forests and national parks will begin to open with social distancing still in place until at least early May. After seeing Korea successfully lower cases of infection, President Moon Jae-in has engaged in "coronavirus diplomacy" with leaders of other nations, part of which involved exporting test kits to more than 20 countries. On April 26, confirmed patient number 31 in Daegu was discharged after 67 days. Criticism against South Korean government's responses: The Ministry of Health and Welfare has been criticized for unilaterally implementing telephone consultation and prescription without discussing with the Korea Medical Association, and for not restricting traffic from China despite several warnings from the association and a petition proposed by the society. On 22 February, the South Korean government apologized for calling the virus "Daegu Corona 19" in an official report. The term has been widespread on social media and raises concerns about discrimination. More than 1.5 million South Koreans have signed a petition to impeach President Moon Jae-in over what they claim is the government's mishandling of the outbreak. On 6 March, the South Korean government has only entry restricted to Japanese citizens out of 102 countries that blocked Korea. The action has been widespread on social media and raises concerns about anti-Japanese discrimination. Turkey: On 10 January 2020, the Ministry of Health set up the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board. It consists of 26 members specialized in fields such as chest diseases, infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. The number of board members later increased to 31 with the joining of experts and academics in virology, internal medicine and intensive care medicine. In the early hours of 11 March 2020 (UTC+03:00), the Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca announced that a Turkish man who had contracted the virus while travelling in Europe was the country's first confirmed coronavirus case. The patient had been placed in isolation at an undisclosed hospital, and family members of the patient were put under observation. On 12 March 2020, after a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the rest of the Turkish government, Press Secretary İbrahim Kalın announced that primary schools, middle schools, and high schools in Turkey would be closed starting from 16 March 2020 for a week. Universities would also be closed for three weeks. Sports matches would be played behind closed doors in the stadiums until the end of April. The president also postponed all his overseas visits. At the press conference held on 25 March, the Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk announced that remote teaching would continue until 30 April. On 26 March, President of the Council of Higher Education Yekta Saraç stated that there would be no in-person teaching at universities in the remainder of the spring semester, and that they would continue with remote education only. On 21 March, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure a total curfew for those who are over the age 65 or chronically ill. On 27 March, the Ministry of the Interior issued a new statement regarding gatherings during weekends, announcing that starting from 28 to 29 March, having picnics, fishing at the shores, doing physical exercise outside (including running and walking on the weekends in city and town centers) would be banned until the virus spread has been contained. It was also stated that, should they deem it necessary, local authorities may extend these new measures to weekdays. Also on 27 March, President Erdoğan announced that all overseas flights were terminated, adding that intercity travel was subject to permission by the state governors, and that places such as picnic areas, forests and historical sites would be closed on the weekend. On 3 April 2020, President Erdoğan announced a 15-day entry ban to 30 metropolitan municipalities as well as Zonguldak. Also, the curfew was extended to people younger than 20 years old. Using masks in public places became mandatory. Criticism against Turkish government's responses: The announced ₺100 billion economic measures package, set to be provided by the government, was criticized by institutions and individuals, including economists and politicians. The lack of a detailed action plan was the center of criticism. Additionally, at a time when people were encouraged to stay at home, the government was criticized for allowing airline passenger transport and tax reductions that support tourism. Critics asked for lowering the down payment of housing loans and emphasized on the need to provide employment support to different sectors. The donation campaign initiated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was supported by representatives of the ruling party, members of the oppositions had a less favorable reaction to it. After the government's decision to take money from the income of several institutions in order to make donations to this campaign, the Confederation of Public Employees' Unions filed a criminal complaint as a result of the salary cuts of the staff of many institutions such as MEB, BOTAŞ, General Directorate of Forestry, Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Court and Social Service Provincial Directorates. Additionally, a similar donation campaign initiated by the metropolitan municipalities with CHP administration was terminated by the Ministry of the Interior and their bank accounts were blocked. Regarding this decision, the Ankara Bar Association issued a statement, saying: "Although the aforementioned circular and blocking process enforced by the Ministry of the Interior are clearly unlawful, the provision of social services belongs neither exclusively to the local governments nor to the central government." Europe: France: Although it was originally thought the pandemic reached France on 24 January 2020, when the first COVID-19 case in Europe was confirmed in Bordeaux, it was later discovered that a person near Paris had tested positive for the virus on 27 December 2019 after retesting old samples. A key event in the spread of the disease in the country was the annual assembly of the Christian Open Door Church between 17 and 24 February in Mulhouse, which was attended by about 2,500 people, at least half of whom are believed to have contracted the virus. On 13 March, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe ordered the closure of all non-essential public places, and on 16 March, French President Emmanuel Macron announced mandatory home confinement, a policy which was extended at least until 11 May. As of 14 September, France has reported more than 402,000 confirmed cases, 30,000 deaths, and 90,000 recoveries, ranking fourth in number of confirmed cases. In April, there were riots in some Paris suburbs. On 18 May, it was reported that schools in France had to close again after reopening, due to COVID-19 case flare-ups. On 12 November it was reported that France had become the worst hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic, in all of Europe, in the process surpassing Russia. The new total of confirmed cases was more than 1.8 million and counting; additionally it was indicated by the French government that the current national lockdown would remain in place. Germany: At the end of January 2020, the first cases occurred in Bavaria in direct connection with the outbreak in Wuhan, China. After initial stagnation, several other cases were reported in different locations. During carnival in February, Heinsberg in Northrhine Westfalia was most affected, and case numbers steadily increased. By the second week of March, all federal states were affected and the first fatality was reported. As of 28 March 2020 the incidence was highest in the city state of Hamburg, followed by Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. The Robert Koch Institute recommended an initial strategy of containment, until more cases would occur than could be traced back to an known case. The next phase of the epidemic, namely community transmission, was assumed to have begun first in Heinsberg, where a strategy of protection of vulnerable groups was adopted. Greece: On 26 February, the first case in Greece was confirmed, a 38-year-old woman from Thessaloniki who had recently visited Northern Italy. Within the next days, health and state authorities issued precautionary guidelines and recommendations, while measures up to that point were taken locally and included the closure of schools and the suspension of cultural events in the affected areas (particularly Ilia, Achaea and Zakynthos). Various municipalities around the country began disinfecting schools. The Greek National Public Health Organization (NPHO), in collaboration with local authorities and doctors, is tracking and testing everyone who came in close contact with the confirmed carriers. By 10 March, with 89 confirmed cases and no deaths in the country, the government decided to suspend the operation of all schools, universities, daycare centers and all other educational establishments nationwide and then, on 13 March, to close down all cafes, bars, museums, shopping centres, sports facilities and restaurants in the country. On 16 March, all retail shops were also closed and all services in all areas of religious worship of any religion or dogma were suspended. Supermarkets, pharmacies, food outlets that offer take-away and delivery only, as well as some other businesses, remained open. On 18 and 19 March, the government announced a series of economic measures of more than 10 billion euros to support the economy, businesses and employees. On 22 March, the Greek authorities announced significant restrictions on all nonessential transport and movement across the country, starting from 6 a.m. on 23 March. Movement outside the house is permitted only for specific reasons that include moving to or from the workplace, shopping for food or medicine, going to the bank, visiting a doctor or assisting a person in need of help and walking a pet or exercising outside individually or in pairs. Citizens leaving their home are required to carry their police ID or passport, as well as some type of attestation depending on the purpose of travel. All passenger flights to and from Italy, Spain, Albania, North Macedonia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany are suspended until 15 May, and land borders with Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey are closed, with exemptions for cargo and sanitary transports, among others. The measures put in place in Greece are some of the most proactive and strict in Europe and have been hailed internationally for slowing the spread of the disease and keeping the number of deaths among the lowest in Europe. Italy: The outbreak was confirmed to have spread to Italy on 31 January 2020, when two Chinese tourists tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Rome. In response, the Italian government suspended all flights to and from China and declared a state of emergency, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stating that Italy is the first EU country to take this precautionary measure. On 31 January, the Italian Council of Ministers appointed Angelo Borrelli, head of the Civil Protection, as Special Commissioner for the COVID-19 Emergency. A unassociated cluster of COVID-19 cases was later further detected starting with 16 confirmed cases in Lombardy on 21 February, an additional 60 cases on 22 February, and Italy's first deaths reported on the same day. The Ministry of Health announced new guidelines for reporting cases on 27 February in response to the previous blanket testing that caused case numbers to surge and inflamed public panic. It would no longer report asymptomatic cases (swabs taken from patients which tested positive but were not showing symptoms) which counted as 40 to 50% of all reported cases at the time. These people would undergo isolation at home and would be followed up with new tests until they were negative. On 22 February, the Italian Council of Ministers announced a new decree law to contain the outbreak, including quarantining more than 50,000 people from 11 different municipalities in northern Italy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said "In the outbreak areas, entry and exit will not be provided. Suspension of work activities and sport events has already been ordered in those areas." Punishments for violating of the lockdown range from a fine of 206 euros to 3 months imprisonment. Italian military and law enforcement agencies were instructed to secure and implement the lockdown. On 3 March, Chinese authorities reported that on March first and second, eight virus victims who had returned to the county of Qingtian, in East China's Zhejiang province, were suffering from the virus. All eight appear to have acquired COVID-19 in the northern town of Bergamo, a virus-ravaged municipality, where they had worked at a restaurant, Qingtian officials said. Chinese authorities called these "backflow cases" — virus carriers who contract the disease outside China, then bring it back to their homeland. On 4 March, the Italian government ordered the full closure of all schools and universities nationwide as Italy reached 100 deaths. Additionally, all major sporting events, including Serie A football matches, would be held behind closed doors until April. On 9 March, all sport was suspended completely for at least one month. On 21 February, at least ten towns in the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy, with a total population of 50,000, were locked down in quarantine procedure following an outbreak in Codogno in Lombardy. Police mandated a curfew closing all public buildings and controlling access through police checkpoints to the so-called 'red zone' which is enforced by penalties for violations ranging from a €206 fine to three months of imprisonment against trespassers who are not health or supply workers. The government of Giuseppe Conte said that sending in the armed forces to enforce the lockdown was a possibility. The governor of Basilicata, Vito Bardi, instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people arriving from areas in northern Italy affected by the outbreak on 24 February. On the same day, 500 extra police officers were assigned to patrol the quarantined areas in Lodi and Veneto. On the morning of 8 March 2020, Conte said that much of Italy's northern territories, including Milan and Venice, would be quarantined within their region. Conte said the country was locking down all of the populous Lombardy region, with movement restrictions applying to about 16 million people. This will be the most aggressive response taken in any region beyond China, and will paralyse the wealthiest parts of the country as Italy attempts to constrain the rapid spread of the disease. On 8 March 2020, there have been 7,375 confirmed cases, and 366 deaths in Italy. On the evening of 9 March 2020, the quarantine was expanded to all of Italy. Criticism against Italian government's responses: Italy's government has drawn criticism from scientists and WHO, for its decision to suspend direct flights to mainland China that while sounding "tough" on paper, was ineffective as "people can still arrive from risk areas via indirect routes." Walter Ricciardi, professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome and a member of the European Advisory Committee on Health Research has said "Italy was wrong, closing flights from China is of no use when there are indirect ones." Italy's government has also been criticised for not testing or enforcing lockdowns sufficiently in some regions, sending mixed messages, and downplaying the severity of the situation. Criticism followed disclosures by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that protocols had not been followed at the hospital in Codogno, Lombardy that treated "patient 1" which "certainly contributed to the spread" of the virus in Italy, with Conte responding to inquiries by journalists on what protocol was broken with "This is not the time for controversy." In response to a statement by Conte that the central government may need to "revoke regional health policy powers," President of Lombardy Attilio Fontana called Conte's statement "fascist" and "talking nonsense." On 8 March, plans by the government to quarantine 16 million people in Northern Italy were leaked early by a national newspaper, causing thousands of people to flee the region before it took place. Conte condemned the leak, calling it "unacceptable". Spain: On 31 January 2020, the first case was confirmed when a tourist tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in La Gomera, Spain. On 14 March, due to the increased number of cases, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a state of alarm, placing all citizens in quarantine except for those working in healthcare or other vital activities, closing all non-critical businesses, and only allowing citizens to go outside for activities such as grocery shopping or walking a pet. Criticism against Spanish government's responses: Spanish government has received criticism for its perceived slow response to the pandemic, as it did not prevent any concentrations until 11 March when there already were 1,646 infected. The large march in Madrid for International Women's Day (8 March), which was attended by around 120,000 people received special criticism, as this event was promoted and attended by members of the government such as Irene Montero who was later confirmed to be infected. United Kingdom: The nature of devolution in the United Kingdom meant that each of the four countries of the UK had its own response to COVID-19 with different rules and restrictions at different times and many of the UK government actions only applying to England. On 24 March 2020, the United Kingdom brought in "some of the most far-reaching curbs on personal freedom ever introduced" in peacetime, including a three-week lockdown of the country. This included a ban on public gatherings of more than two people (excluding those one lives with) and the closing down of all non-essential businesses. Scotland: The first case of COVID-19 in Scotland was confirmed on March 1st with the first death of someone with COVID-19 occurring 12 days later. The following week, on March 20th, the Scottish government instructed a number of businesses to close, including pubs, cafes, cinemas and bingo halls. On 21 May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined a four-phase "route map" for easing lockdown restrictions in Scotland to take effect from 28 May subject to the number of new cases of COVID-19 continuing to fall. Criticism against British government's responses: The UK government received intense pressure for its lax measures taken against the virus in comparison to other European countries. The World Health Organization questioned the UK government's response to COVID-19 with spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris stating in an interview on Today that not enough is known about the science of COVID-19 to justify the UK's approach to developing "herd immunity" against the virus, saying that while "theories" can be talked about, the current situation requires "action". The UK's controversial plan to tackle COVID-19 has been developed by Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof. Chris Whitty. Government Minister Helen Whately responded by saying that the Government is "following the evidence". North America- Costa Rica: Since the start of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health, together with the Government, were in charge of informing the general population through a daily press conference. By 6 March, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 is registered after several results obtained by INCIENSA (Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health). The 49-year-old American woman was isolated, along with her husband in a San José lodging. There were 2 previous suspected cases under investigation. The positive patient arrived with her husband on Sunday, 1 March without symptoms, at the Juan Santamaría airport, they visited Alajuela and Puntarenas, so investigations were carried out from these areas to follow up on contacts, as well as 152 people traveling on the flight that brought them to the country. On 9 March, due to the nine confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health in coordination with the National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported that from 10 March, events and concentration activities are canceled massive, both free and paid, while teleworking for public institutions is instructed through the Presidential Directive. The President Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas announced, on 12 March, preventive closings to educational centers at risk, the reduction in 50% of the approved capacity of public meeting spaces and suspension of trips abroad for public employees. A telephone line is created for inquiries about COVID-19. On 15 March, the Ministry of Health made the decision to instruct a total lockdown placing all citizens in quarantine except for those working in healthcare and delivery restaurant and food services. The closure of bars, clubs and casinos and the amusement park was informed. By this date 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 are registered in the nation. On 16 March, The Government declares a state of National Emergency, prevents the arrival of foreigners and lessons are suspended in all schools. Costa Ricans and residents who entered the country will have to carry out mandatory preventive isolation for 14 days. 41 cases are confirmed. The first death of a patient confirmed by COVID-19 is recorded by 18 March. This is an 87-year-old man who was hospitalized in intensive care at the Alajuela Hospital. By 31 March, were registered 8 in intensive care and 347 people were infected. 4 people recovered. United States: On 28 January 2020, the federal government publicly released its approach to COVID-19 testing. Despite this, the U.S. testing effort was slow, obscuring the extent of the outbreak. Many of the 160,000 test kits produced in February were found to be defective and were not used. Academic laboratories, hospitals and private companies were not allowed to use their own tests until 29 February, when the FDA started issuing approvals for them. Initially, there were eligibility restrictions for receiving a COVID-19 test (based on recent international travel, hospitalization for respiratory illness, or contact with another person already diagnosed with COVID-19). By 27 February, fewer than 4,000 tests had been conducted in the United States. On March 5, the CDC relaxed its restrictions, allowing doctors to decide whom to test; a week later, nearly 14,000 tests had been performed. Federal funding was used to run 41 "community-based testing sites" (CBTS), but the federal government said it would stop this funding on 10 April; as a result of that decision, some of these testing sites were expected to close, shifting demand to hospitals. Those that remain open will likely be funded by states. On 31 January 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation limiting entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The first six confirmed deaths in the United States were reported in late February 2020 in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington. By 8 March 2020, there were 22 U.S. deaths and over 500 reported cases. A month later, on 8 April, there were 14,000 U.S. deaths and over 430,000 reported cases. The U.S. federal government's health inspectors surveyed 323 hospitals in late March, reporting "severe shortages" of test supplies, "widespread shortages" of PPE, and other strained resources due to extended patient stays while awaiting test results. Oceania- Fiji: At the beginning of February, the Government of Fiji announced a travel ban to China. As the disease started spreading to other countries, Fiji extended the travel ban to Italy, Iran and South Korea. However, on 19 March, Fiji confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in Lautoka. As a precautionary measure, the Government of Fiji announced the lockdown of the city until 7 April 2020 and the travel ban was further extended to the United States and the whole of Europe including the United Kingdom. On 26 March, the country closed its main international airport in Nadi and all local shipping services was ceased. Later on 2 April, the Government announced a lockdown of Suva, after confirmed cases in the capital. As the cases rose, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced a nationwide curfew from 8pm to 5am and social gatherings was banned. Schools and non-essential services was closed and the public was advised to stay at home and practice good hygiene. New Zealand: On 28 January, the Ministry of Health set up the National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC) in response to the outbreak. On 3 February, the New Zealand Government announced that foreign travellers who left from China would be denied entry to New Zealand, with only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents and their family being allowed to enter. New Zealand confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 28 February, a New Zealand citizen in his 60s who had recently visited Iran. The travel ban was extended to include Iran on the same day. -17 March: Health Minister David Clark announced that the Government would deport foreign tourists who flout self-quarantine restrictions. Immigration New Zealand placed two foreign tourists into forced quarantine for defying Government requirements to self-quarantine for two weeks. Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a NZ$12.1 billion COVID-19 business package. Logan Park High School in Dunedin closed for 48 hours after one of its students tested positive for the coronavirus. -18 March: The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association announced that all Anzac Day services, scheduled for 25 April, would be cancelled. -19 March: The government required the cancellation of mass indoor events with more than 100 people. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the closure of New Zealand's borders to all but New Zealand citizens and residents, with effect after 11:59 pm on Thursday night. -21 March: Local councils in New Zealand's main centres announced the closures of public facilities including swimming pools, libraries, recreation centres, community centres, art galleries, and museums. -23 March: Prime Minister Ardern raised the COVID-19 alert level from two to three and announced the closure of all schools beginning on that day. The Government also announced that they would raise the national alert level to four at 11:59pm on 25 March, which would lead to a nationwide lockdown, for a period of four weeks. While all sporting matches and events as well as non-essential services such as pools, bars, cafes, restaurants, playgrounds are required to close in 48 hours, essential services such as supermarkets, petrol stations, and health services will remain open. -8 June: New Zealand lifts all domestic restrictions from COVID-19 after reporting no new cases for over two weeks. However, entry to New Zealand remained restricted. -16 June: The country gets new cases of COVID after two women returned to New Zealand from the UK after they were given an exemption to travel. In response, David Clark suspended compassionate exemptions. South America- Brazil: Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized due to "lax handling" of the outbreak and after calling it a "fantasy". His lack of action has also prompted many protests across the country since 18 March 2020. Days before, on 15 March, Bolsonaro received harsh criticism after attending a pro-government demonstration in Brasília on which he had physical contact with more than two hundred people, against the recommendations of his own Minister of Health. Following the event, the president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, said that Bolsonaro's acts were an "attack on public health", going against his own government guidelines, while Davi Alcolumbre, president of the Brazilian Senate, classified Bolsonaro's behaviour as "inconsequential". The Brazilian Ministry of Health has also been criticized for not providing enough test kits, which may muddle the efforts to contain the outbreak in the country Debate: The response to the pandemic has resulted in unprecedented expansion of government power. Advocates of small government worry that the state will be reluctant to give up that power once the crisis is over, as has often been the case historically.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

White House COVID-19 outbreak

The White House COVID-19 outbreak is an ongoing cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections that began in September 2020 and spread among people, including many US government officials, who were in close contact during the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C. Numerous high-profile individuals were infected, including President Donald Trump, who was hospitalized for three days. At least 48 White House staff members or associates, closely working with White House personnel, have tested positive for the coronavirus. The White House resisted efforts to engage in contact tracing, leaving it unclear how many people were infected in total and what the origins of the spread were. Many of the infections appeared to be related to a ceremony held on September 26 in the Rose Garden for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, where seating was not socially distanced and participants were mostly unmasked. Trump himself may have been infectious at that point, but he and his entourage attended several subsequent events unmasked, including the first presidential debate against Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29. The next day, Presidential Counselor Hope Hicks was placed in quarantine aboard Air Force One while returning with Trump from a campaign event in Minnesota. Following that, the president proceeded on schedule to an October 1 New Jersey fundraiser where he mingled, unmasked, with donors. More infections were reported in late October among Vice President Mike Pence's staff, and a second large outbreak occurred after Election Day, after Trump held a watch party in the East Room. Other infections included First Lady Melania Trump; GOP Senators Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson; GOP Representative Matt Gaetz; Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien; RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel; former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins; Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany; presidential advisor Stephen Miller; Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. As of November 11, at least 48 people had tested positive. At least one person, White House security office head Crede Bailey, was reported as "gravely ill," having fallen sick in September prior to the Rose Garden event. The Rose Garden cluster emerged in the final weeks of Trump's campaign for the 2020 presidential election, a little more than a month before the last day of voting, November 3. Commentators were critical of the White House for providing conflicting information about Trump's condition and the timeline of his infection, as well as delaying the disclosure of the initial diagnoses of White House staffers. According to public health experts such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the outbreak could have been prevented. Both major outbreaks have had a significant impact on Trump's presidency. Aides and Trump supporters claim that catching COVID-19 during the October 2020 outbreak cost him the election. Internal polling by Trump's campaign showed the White House outbreak prolonged the low numbers following his September 29 debate performance. Following the November 2020 outbreak, Trump lost access to many of his personnel, including two campaign advisors in charge of challenging vote counting, a political advisor, the White House Chief of Staff, more than a dozen White House aides, and 10% of Secret Service agents. Timeline of viral transmission- Background: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump and William Barr discouraged officials and staff from wearing masks. Those in the West Wing who did use them often faced ridicule from others. In April, the White House became one of the first locations to gain access to rapid-turnaround COVID-19 tests. The White House relied upon rapid-tests which lacked FDA-approval for use in asymptomatic individuals. Throughout the spring, there had been sporadic cases of COVID-19 reported at the White House. On March 20, it was announced that a staffer for the vice president had tested positive and was experiencing very mild symptoms, though neither Trump nor Pence had been in close contact with the staffer. On May 7, an unnamed personal valet to the president tested positive, and the following day, Katie Miller, the spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19. Miller's positive test result caused several other Pence staffers who were in close contact with her to be removed from Air Force Two before Pence's trip to Iowa, but neither Trump nor Pence had been in recent close contact with Miller. In June, the White House scaled back the screening regime, but still required screening and testing for anyone coming into contact with the president or vice president. Campaign events resume, Bailey diagnosed amid secrecy: A Stanford preprint study concluded that likely over 30,000 cases and 700 deaths could be attributed to Trump rallies held between June 20 and September 22. On June 22, Trump held a campaign rally in Tulsa, the first since the start of the pandemic. Attendees who tested positive include two Secret Service agents, two staffers, a journalist, Kimberly Guilfoyle and politician Herman Cain. Cain ultimately died. Tulsa experienced a surge in cases after the rally. From August 17–20, Trump held rallies at Mankato, Minnesota and Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. About 500 attended Mankato, and masks and social distancing were not used. Several hundred attended the event in Lackawanna, masks were mostly used but social distancing was not. Both communities experienced surges of COVID-19 in the wake of the rallies. Over Labor Day Weekend (Sept 5-7), Crede Bailey, the head of the White House security office, became sick with COVID-19. He was hospitalized sometime in September, becoming gravely ill. The White House kept his condition secret and declined to comment when his condition was reported in the news on October 7. On September 13, Trump held a 5,000 person rally in Henderson, Nevada, violating of the state's ban on gatherings larger than 50 people and resulting in a fine. One case was later traced to "a political rally". On September 16, it was reported that at least one unnamed staffer had tested positive. After Trump's hospitalization, it was revealed that two members of the residence staff had tested positive that week. On September 17, Trump held a rally at an airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin; Thousands attended, few masks were worn and social distancing was not observed. The county experienced a surge in COVID-19. Trump held a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota on September 18. Thousand attended in violation of the Minnesota ban on gatherings of more than 250, few attendees wore face masks, and there was no social distancing. 16 cases were linked to the rally, including two who were hospitalized. The county saw a spike of COVID-19 after the rally. On September 24, Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump held event at a Minneapolis hotel. Three attendees would later test positive. Trump campaign fundraiser, September 25: Trump met Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, McEnany, and others at a September 25 fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel. On October 1, McDaniel appeared on Fox News and made no mention of her health, despite receiving confirmation of her positive test result on the afternoon of September 30. Two days later, an RNC spokesperson announced that McDaniel had tested positive. Amy Coney Barrett nomination events, September 26: On September 26, 2020, an event was held in the White House Rose Garden announcing Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. More than 150 people attended; they were told they did not need to wear masks if they had tested negative that day. Chairs for the outdoor ceremony were placed side by side, and there were two crowded indoor receptions. At least seven attendees tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the following week, including President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, University of Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins, former Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Barrett had suffered infection in the summer before recovering and testing negative. Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The New York Times, first tested positive for the virus October 2, as did many others. He was not present at the Rose Garden event, but had visited the White House on September 27 for a COVID-19 test, required before traveling with the President to a rally in Pennsylvania. Kellyanne Conway's daughter Claudia revealed on social media on the evening of October 2 that her mother had tested positive for COVID-19. The same day, Senators Lee and Tillis were revealed to have tested positive. Christie confirmed on October 3 that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Christie had been present at debate preparation for Trump as well as the nomination ceremony for Barrett. Later that day, Christie announced he was hospitalized after his condition worsened; Christie received an experimental antibody cocktail from Eli Lilly as well as remdesivir. Lee was filmed hugging other attendees while not wearing a mask. Five of the infected were seated in the front three rows at the event, in close contact with Republican senior officials. Christie was released from the Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey on October 10. Jenkins later issued a statement saying: "I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden." Infectious disease physician Robert L. Murphy said that if the infections are traced to the Rose Garden ceremony, they may have been started by a superspreader (a highly contagious person), and that they could have been avoided if face masks were worn and social distancing was practiced. He said, "Whoever got this thing going is a superspreader". The outdoor portion of the event was less likely to be a super-spreader event than the indoor portion. At least 10 members of the Notre Dame faculty besides Jenkins attended the event, but as of October 7, none had tested positive. On November 10, it was announced that one attendee, Harry R. Jackson Jr., had died; no cause of death was given. The White House did not do contact tracing to minimize the spread of the outbreak, limiting any effort to notify those who have been exposed to Trump. The Centers for Disease Control made several offers to assist the White House with contact tracing, but they were repeatedly declined. On October 6, the White House announced that it had completed contact tracing, but several reporters who had tested positive for the virus said the White House had not reached out to them. Also on September 26, Trump traveled to a rally in at the Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania, which was attended by thousands. The governor opposed the rally, arguing "It is gravely concerning that the president would insist on holding this event with blatant disregard for social distancing and masking requirements. His decision to bring thousands of people together in a tight space in the midst of a global pandemic caused by an airborne virus is flat out wrong." After Trump's diagnosis was made public, Pennsylvania health officials advised attendees to participate in the state's contact tracing program. In the wake of the rally, the county saw a surge in COVID-19. Joint Chiefs of Staff exposed, September 27: Trump hosted Gold Star families and Pentagon leaders in the East Room of the White House. Attendees were photographed seated in close proximity and not wearing masks. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the event. Admiral Charles Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, attended the event, later tested positive and entered isolation on Oct 6. On October 2, Ray attended meetings at the Pentagon with members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On Oct 6 all but one the Joint Chiefs of Staff—Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps— went into isolation, including Milley, Vice Chairman John E. Hyten, Chief of Naval Operations Michael M. Gilday, Chief of Staff of the Army James C. McConville, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of Space Operations John W. Raymond, Chief the National Guard Bureau Daniel Hokanson, and Commander of U.S. Cyber Command Paul Nakasone. Of those quarantined, General Nakasone is a combatant commander, part of the direct chain of command from the president to the military, and also the Director of the National Security Agency. General Gary L. Thomas, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, stood in for Gen. Berger at the meeting and later tested positive with symptoms. First presidential debate, September 26–29: Multiple White House personnel attended the September 29 debate at the Cleveland Clinic. Trump, Melania, and senior advisor Hope Hicks attended the debate and later tested positive. Senior advisor Stephen Miller was also on Air Force One for the trip and later tested positive. Also in attendance were Ivanka Trump and her siblings, Donald Jr., Eric, Lara and Tiffany Trump. Trump prepared for the debate between September 26 and September 29 in the Map Room of the White House. His debate preparation team included Chris Christie, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Rudy Giuliani, Jason Miller, Mark Meadows, Jared Kushner, Kayleigh McEnany, Alyssa Farah, and Stephen Miller. Christie stated that no masks were worn. Five of the 10 debate prep team members tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within a week after the debate. The City of Cleveland said that at least 11 people who "were either members of the media or were scheduled to work logistics/set-up the days prior to the event" later tested positive. Lack of masks and testing: Prior to the debate, both the Biden and Trump campaigns agreed with the Commission on Presidential Debates that all attendees would be masked, with the exception of the two presidential candidates and debate moderator Chris Wallace. Masking was enforced at the door, but several of Trump's guests in the audience, including his wife Melania, his family members, and senior staff, removed their masks after entering the hall. When Trump's guests were personally offered masks by Cleveland Clinic staff, they declined. All attendees were supposed to be tested for coronavirus before admission. After the outbreak was public, Wallace revealed that Trump and his personnel arrived too late to be tested, and were instead admitted to the debate hall under "an honor system". In the coming days, the White House repeatedly declined to say when Trump last tested negative, raising speculation that he may have gone untested or even tested positive prior to the debate. On October 6, the New York Times broke news that, despite public impressions to the contrary, Donald Trump was not actually being tested daily. The timeline raised the possibility that Trump "might have tested positive before the Sept. 29 debate, failed to disclose it and showed up at the debate anyway." Hicks diagnosed amid secrecy: On Wednesday, Trump went to suburban Minneapolis for a private fundraiser at the home of Marty Davis, CEO of kitchen counter-top manufacturer Cambria. Thirteen members of the catering staff were quarantined after their exposure. That fundraiser was followed by a rally in Duluth. Hope Hicks, one of his closest advisors, accompanied Trump aboard Air Force One. The rally ended around 10 p.m. EDT. The Minnesota Department of Health later traced four cases to the Duluth rally. During the Minnesota rally, Hicks stayed aboard the plane because she was not feeling well, and she quarantined herself at the back of the plane for the flight home. A test confirmed her diagnosis as COVID-positive. Aides sensed that Trump was not feeling well during the Wednesday trip. The White House initially sought to keep Hicks' diagnosis secret, and as of the morning of Thursday, October 1, only a very small group of senior White House officials knew of Hicks' diagnosis. No mention of her diagnosis was made in press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's news briefing that day. McEnany later tested positive. After learning of Hicks's positive test, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins said, "Why did the press secretary still hold a briefing despite knowing she had come into contact with somebody who had just tested positive for coronavirus? She didn't even tell us. Didn't even tell reporters who were on the plane. Didn't disclose any of that." McEnany later said she did not learn about Hicks until later that day. Bedminster fundraiser, October 1: At least five of Trump's closest associates cancelled their scheduled travel to a fundraiser at Bedminster: daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, body man Nick Luna, Trump's deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino, and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Despite his exposure, Trump proceeded with the event, flying aboard Air Force One. The event had an indoor roundtable, an indoor VIP reception, and an outdoor reception. Trump spoke without a mask to over 200 supporters, most of whom also didn't wear a mask. Attendees noted that Trump seemed "lethargic" and "not himself". He showed symptoms of a mild cough, some nasal congestion, and fatigue. Jayna McCarron, Coast Guard aide to President Trump, was assigned to accompany Trump to the Bedminster fundraiser. She later tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Hicks diagnosis becomes public and Trump diagnosed: Hicks' diagnosis was first reported by Jennifer Jacobs and Jordan Fabian of Bloomberg at 8:07 p.m. on October 1. After returning from Bedminster, Trump received a positive test result on a rapid test and was waiting to get results of a PCR test when he did a live phone interview on Hannity. Sean Hannity of Fox News brought up Bloomberg's report about Hicks and asked for an update, whereupon Trump publicly mentioned Hicks' diagnosis for the first time, saying, "I just heard about this. She tested positive." Trump stated, "It is very, very hard when you are with people from the military, or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them." Without disclosing that he had already tested positive, he announced that he and the first lady were being tested for SARS-CoV-2. He repeated this via Twitter after the interview. Later that night, the result of the PCR test also came in positive. Trump was hospitalized the next day, October 2. Widespread outbreak, Bailey hospitalization becomes public: On October 2, it was announced that Trump 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien tested positive. On October 2, Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who was exposed to someone who tested positive when he returned to Washington D.C. on September 29, tested positive for COVID-19 which he waited to reveal until October 3. Johnson said he had been with Trump over the last several weeks. Three White House press room journalists, including Michael D. Shear, also tested positive on October 2, as did a White House staffer who works with the press. On October 9, Representative Mike Bost was announced to have tested positive and developed symptoms after interacting with Sen. Mike Lee. Trump's personal attendant Nick Luna's positive test results were announced on October 3. Luna had been at the debate and on the flight to Minnesota. Claudia Conway, the daughter of Kellyanne Conway, announced on Oct 4 that she had tested positive as well. Also on October 4, Attorney General Barr reversed his previous stance and announced he would be entering quarantine. On October 5, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had also tested positive. Two other White House press room staffers, Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt, were also reported to have tested positive on October 5. On October 6, new announced infections included: assistant press secretary Jalen Drummond, presidential military aide Jayna McCarron, and an unidentified military aide. On October 7, 2020, Bloomberg News cited four people who reported that head of the White House Security Office Crede Bailey was "gravely ill" with COVID-19 and had been in hospital since September. Bailey had been ill even before the September 26 Rose Garden event. Presidential hospitalization and early release- Airlift to Walter Reed and experimental treatments, October 2: At 12:54 a.m. EDT on October 2, Trump announced via Twitter that both he and the first lady had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that night. The afternoon of the same day, the White House announced that Trump would be hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland "for the next few days" "out of an abundance of caution", on the recommendation of the medical team headed by Sean Conley, a doctor of osteopathy who had been the Physician to the President since 2018. Because he was a Navy commander, Conley was oblighed to follow the orders of his commander-in-chief. Trump, who was wearing a mask, was briefly filmed walking unassisted from the White House to the Marine One helicopter outside to transport him to Walter Reed. According to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump was hospitalized because he "had a fever and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly". The Associated Press reported that "a person familiar with Trump's condition confirmed that Trump was given oxygen at the White House" in the morning before arriving at Walter Reed, although Trump's doctors refused to say whether he had ever been given supplemental oxygen. Trump had Walter Reed personnel sign non-disclosure agreements in 2019 before they could be involved in treating him. Two doctors refused to sign the NDAs and were not allowed to have any involvement in his care. Medical personnel are already prohibited by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) from releasing personal health information without consent. Medical ethics professor Arthur Caplan called the NDAs redundant. On Friday afternoon, physicians revealed Trump had been given an experimental course of monoclonal antibodies from drug maker Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which further confirmed that Trump had received an "8 gram dose of REGN-COV2". The drug was immediately provided in response to a "compassionate use" request from the medical team. That night, Trump received his first infusion of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that disrupts virus replication. Remdesivir has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but has been used as an emergency treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The extremely aggressive combination was described as "uncharted territory"; Trump is believed to be the first individual to ever undergo both treatments simultaneously. Steroid treatment, October 3: At an 11 a.m. press conference on October 3, Conley stated that Trump was not currently on oxygen, that he had not had a fever for the past 24 hours, and that he was "doing very well". Conley described Trump as being "just 72 hours into the diagnosis now", raising questions among journalists about when the diagnosis had actually been made, since it had been publicly announced only 36 hours previously. A 72-hour timeline would suggest that Trump actually knew he had the infection on September 30, but proceeded with his plans for a public rally that evening and a fundraiser on October 1. Conley later clarified that he had meant "day three" instead of "72 hours", referring to the then-current time of Saturday morning compared to the diagnosis time of Thursday night (about 36 hours). Doctors also revealed that he had exhibited symptoms on October 1, including a "mild cough, and some nasal congestion and fatigue". When Conley was asked if Trump was on steroids, Conley ended the briefing. Minutes after the press conference, an anonymous source — later identified as Meadows — contradicted the assessment from the doctors, saying "The president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care", adding "We're still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery." Shortly thereafter, Meadows stated on the record the president was "doing very well". That night, Conley warned that Trump was "not yet out of the woods" with regard to his condition. The White House released two photos which showed Trump working at the hospital, according to their captions; strangely, the president was signing documents that appeared to be blank. Motorcade excursion, October 4: In an October 4 press conference, Trump's medical team claimed that he was "doing really well" after his oxygen level dipped the day before and after he was given the steroid dexamethasone, which works by reducing inflammation in the lungs, but can have significant mental health side effects, including psychosis, delirium and mania. Asked if CT scans showed pneumonia or lung damage, Conley said, "There's some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern." He declined to say what was found. When asked why he was reluctant to disclose that Trump had been given oxygen during the October 3 briefing, Conley stated that he did not want to "give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction" and "it came off that we're trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true." White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah later stated that it was "a common medical practice that you want to convey confidence, and you want to raise the spirits of the person you're treating," while also asserting that Meadows' anonymous statement to reporters was intended to "give you guys more information just to try to be as transparent as we can," effectively conceding Conley was addressing the president on television, rather than the public. The president was reported to be angry about Meadows' off-the-record assessment. Later in the day, Trump briefly departed the hospital in order to ride past a gathering of supporters at the medical center, waving from the back seat of an SUV, before returning. Medical experts stated that the outing endangered the Secret Service agents accompanying Trump inside the vehicle due to his infection. James Phillips, doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University and an attending physician at Walter Reed, called the drive-by "insanity" for "political theater" and wrote that Trump had endangered the Secret Service agents in the presidential SUV by potentially exposing them to COVID-19. Within the Secret Service, some agents expressed outrage or frustration with Trump's behavior. One anonymous agent told journalists, "He's not even pretending to care now." Joseph Petro, a former veteran Secret Service agent and senior official, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that Trump's behavior was part of a longstanding pattern of endangering others; he also criticized Secret Service management for an "inexcusable lack of concern" for the health of agents and their families. Return to White House, October 5: At 2:37 p.m. EDT on October 5, Trump tweeted that he would be discharged from the hospital at 6:30 p.m. that day. However, doctors said in an afternoon news briefing that Trump continued to be treated with dexamethasone and remdesivir. The prospect of Trump's early release astonished infectious disease experts, who noted that Trump planned to be discharged in a period when COVID-19 patients are particularly vulnerable (7–10 days after symptoms first appear) to unpredictable and rapid declines in condition. Outside physicians stated that the depiction of Trump's illness as relatively mild was inconsistent with the aggressive treatment he was receiving. Trump's medical team made cryptic remarks about his status and declined to say whether Trump's CT scans contained indications of pneumonia or lung damage. Trump made phone calls in which he shared the idea of him leaving the hospital feigning frailty, but would then rip open his dress shirt to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, as reported by The New York Times. After reportedly pressuring his doctors to release him, he was discharged and arrived at the White House shortly before 7 p.m. He stood for a photo op at the South Portico balcony, where he removed his mask despite being potentially contagious. Having climbed two flights of stairs to the balcony, Trump appeared to breathe heavily as he steadied himself. He then gave a salute before walking inside. He later went back outside with a camera crew to reshoot his entrance. Within an hour of his arrival he released a video showing Marine One's flight and landing and his saluting pose. The video included a message saying, "We're going back to work. We're going to be out front. As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there's danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front. I led. Nobody that's a leader would not do what I did. And I know there's a risk, there's a danger, but that's OK. And now I'm better and maybe I'm immune, I don't know. But don't let it dominate your lives." The message was widely criticized. The New York Times commented, "Trump's statement was meant to cast his illness as an act of courage rather than the predictable outcome of recklessness." He also echoed a message he had earlier tweeted: "Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life" – a message which reportedly angered many survivors of the virus or people who had lost loved ones to the disease. The New York Times tabulated that Trump's tests, treatments, airlifts, and hospital stay, if given to an average American, would have cost more than $100,000. The helicopter rides alone would have cost $40,000 after insurance. Return to the West Wing, October 6–7: On October 6 and 7, Trump made no public appearances and had an empty public schedule, although he made more than 50 Twitter posts. In the tweets, Trump compared SARS-CoV-2 to the flu and falsely claimed that the flu had higher death rates: "Are we going to close down our Country (because of the flu)? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!" Many doctors expressed alarm at the notion that the public should "learn to live with" the pandemic. Twitter tagged the post with a "misleading and potentially harmful information" flag, and Facebook removed a similar post by Trump. Four hours after the tweet, and after it was flagged by Twitter's staff, Trump tweeted "REPEAL SECTION 230", an attack against Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms from litigation surrounding the content their users post. Trump's behavior on October 6 caused some White House staffers to wonder if he was being influenced by the cocktail of drugs he had been taking. Aides said that Trump still sometimes sounded as if he was trying to catch his breath; Trump continued to receive remdesivir treatment inside the White House and conducted business without wearing a mask. Dr. Conley said in a memo that Trump has "no symptoms" and is doing "extremely well." On October 7, Trump insisted on conducting business in the Oval Office, although he was supposed to be quarantined in the residential portion of the White House and rooms had been set up there where he could work. He reportedly entered the Oval Office through an outdoor entrance so as not to encounter staff. Only two aides – Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino – spent time with him there, fully dressed in personal protective equipment. Return to public events, October 8–12: Trump suggested that he could have gotten COVID-19 from family members of fallen soldiers who were at the September 27 reception for Gold Star Families. He said on a Fox Business interview on October 8 that the family members "come within an inch of my face" and that "They want to hug me, and they want to kiss me." Trump did not wear a mask during the event. The White House later clarified that "based on contact tracing, the data we have, we don't think it arose from that event" while defending holding such events indoors with few or no masks. Trump also said in the interview that he remains on dexamethasone. Dr. Conley issued a memo that day saying that Trump's condition was stable and he was "devoid of symptoms". He added that "Saturday (October 10) will be day 10 since Thursday's diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president's safe return to public engagements at that time." Ten to 20 days is the CDC's recommendation for how long people should isolate themselves after having COVID-19. In an interview that night, Trump said he would like to hold a rally in Florida on October 10 and one in Pennsylvania on the 11th. On October 10, Trump held his first public event since being diagnosed with the virus, speaking briefly from the South Lawn portico to hundreds of guests. Conley said on October 12 that Trump tested negative on "consecutive days" using rapid antigen tests and that the results of a PCR test, along with CDC guidelines for mild to moderate cases, indicate that he is not infectious. The CDC says it "does not recommend using antigen tests to make decisions about discontinuing isolation" and that negative tests should be confirmed with a PCR test. Later that day, Trump held his first rally since being diagnosed, in Sanford, Florida. The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other news outlets did not send reporters to travel with Trump, citing concerns over basic precautions. Subsequent outbreaks- Pence staff: In late October, ABC News learned an unidentified staffer in the vice president's office had tested positive. Days later, it was announced that five close advisers to Pence had tested positive: Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President; Marty Obst, one of the Vice President's closest advisors; Zach Bauer, the Vice President's "body man;" as well as two unnamed members of Pence's staff. After initially trying to keep the outbreak quiet, the White House announced that Pence would continue with his schedule, including political rallies, despite having been in "close contact with Mr. Short". Election Night party: On November 3, 2020, Election Day, Donald Trump held a party for staffers and campaign officials in the East Room of the White House. The party was unprecedented in its size and scope. Similarly to the Barrett nomination, few people wore masks or practiced social distancing. On November 6, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' positive COVID-19 test was made public. Meadows had been diagnosed on the 4th, but tried to keep his results secret, a move that concerned officials. Diagnoses for Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Meadows, Nick Trainor, a director for the Trump campaign, and five White House staffers were also made public on the 6th. The following day, Jared Kushner aide Charlton Boyd was reported to be infected, and Florida Representative Matt Gaetz announced he had developed antibodies for the virus. On November 9, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and Citizens United head David Bossie tested positive for COVID-19. According to his brother, Carson was "in good spirits". Two days later, Brian Jack, White House political director, and 2016 campaign spokesperson Healy Baumgardner were diagnosed. On November 12, it was revealed that party attendees Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign advisor, and Republican strategist and lobbyist Jeff Miller tested positive for coronavirus. On November 13, media outlets reported that over 130 Secret Service officers had been forced to self-isolate because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had been in close contact with infected individuals. Effects on election and congressional activities- Vice presidential debate: Two days before the debate between Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the stage at the University of Utah would feature plexiglass barriers separating Pence, Harris, and the moderator Susan Page of USA Today. At the Rose Garden ceremony on September 26, Pence had sat one row away from Mike Lee, five seats away from Thom Tillis, and three rows away from Kayleigh McEnany. Pence was also with Trump and Melania at the reception for Gold Star Families and was with Trump in the Oval Office the day of the first presidential debate. Pence's physician said that Pence, who tested negative, was not a close contact with anyone who had tested positive and did not need to quarantine. The night before the debate, the Trump White House released a letter from Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, to Pence's chief of staff Marc Short, in which Redfield declared that, based on his negative test results and discussions with Pence's physician, "the CDC concludes from a public health standpoint" that it was safe for Pence to debate. Redfield's letter, which was possibly unprecedented in CDC's history, sparked an outcry from public health experts inside and outside the CDC (such as Angela Rasmussen) because the agency had not conducted an investigation into Pence's contacts; some within the CDC also objected to the letter on the grounds that it constituted a use of Pence's "special privileged access to the nation's top public health official" for a political purpose. Some outside observers also raised continuity-of-government concerns with Pence declining to quarantine. Despite his known exposure, Pence initially asked to not have a plexiglass barrier on his side of the stage. His spokesperson, Katie Miller, argued that the twelve feet of distance between the participants made the precaution unnecessary, and mocked Harris for using the barrier. The day before the debate, Pence dropped his objections and agreed to the barrier. A number of experts noted that a plexiglass barrier would not prevent airborne transmission, which given the stage setup was the biggest hazard. Though the Biden-Harris campaign sought to have the candidates stand, the Commission opted for the debate participants to be seated, which was the preference of the Trump-Pence. Despite her known exposure, Karen Pence appeared unmasked, violating prior agreements that all attendees would be masked except for the moderator and candidates. Second presidential debate: On October 8, the Commission on Presidential Debates made plans to have the second debate on October 15 be held in a virtual format due to Trump's COVID diagnosis. Trump declined to take part in a virtual debate, while Biden was willing to participate. Following Trump's refusal to participate, the Biden campaign announced that he would instead take questions from voters directly on October 15 via a town hall event hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia. The commission then canceled the debate altogether. Supreme Court nomination hearings: The outbreak among senators caused the Senate to delay its session by two weeks to October 19, but the Judiciary Committee began Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination hearings on October 12. Democrats tried unsuccessfully to delay the fast-track proceedings by raising safety concerns in light of infections among members. Committee members Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, had already tested positive, both having attended the Rose Garden event in September; member Ted Cruz had been quarantining after coming into contact with the former. While the Capitol's mask requirements were generally enforced, Mike Lee, who had been cleared by the attending physician, gave his opening statement without a mask, though he wore a mask at other times. Sens. Cruz and Tillis appeared remotely on the first day of hearings, and participated in person the other days. Committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was at the Rose Garden event and had brief contact with Sen. Lee, said he tested negative on October 2. He did not wear a mask at his seat, but put it on when Lee approached. Congressional safety officials said that the hearing met CDC guidelines, and the chamber was set up with air ventilation systems and distancing between senators. Concerns- Risk to the public: Epidemiologists and public health experts said that the outbreak had put many people at risk in many places. Those infected carried the virus across the country and attended events in places such as Atlanta, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. At least 6,000 people attended gatherings where they mingled closely with those infected within a week of the Supreme Court nomination ceremony on September 26. In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the outbreaks at the White House and Capitol Hill (where masks are required on the House floor, but not the Senate floor) also presented a risk. The city had made substantial progress in reducing virus transmission through stringent public health laws and a population that largely followed these laws, but the clusters began a reversal and raised concerns that the city's overall infection rate would be affected. As a federal property, the White House is exempt from the District of Columbia's public health rules, and has disregarded local mandates. The Trump White House also did not share positive test results with state or local health agencies. Date of Trump's last negative test: After President Trump was hospitalized, it was revealed that he was not being tested daily, and the White House was unwilling to reveal the date of his last negative test. In previous months, Trump had twice claimed to test negative: in March, Trump physician Sean Conley had announced that the president had tested negative after he was exposed to COVID-positive individuals at his Mar-a-Lago resort. After one of Trump's personal valets tested positive in May, Trump told reporters "I tested very positively in another sense so—this morning. Yeah. I tested positively toward negative, right. So. I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative." At a October 16 event, Trump reported being unable to remember whether he had taken a test in the hours prior to the presidential debate. Foreign intelligence concerns: Former senior CIA officers noted that the crisis created counterintelligence challenges, as foreign intelligence services routinely collect information on health of leadership, using various sources and methods. Former CIA Director John E. McLaughlin said that "foreign intelligence services, particularly hostile ones, have no higher priority than understanding events in a president's inner circle, it's reasonable to assume that they have sources somewhere seeking access to reliable information on his diagnosis." Mick Mulroy, an ABC News analyst and retired CIA officer, stated that foreign adversaries could take advantage of information in an atmosphere of confusion. Continuity of government implications: As of October 3, 2020, a White House spokesperson confirmed that Trump remained active as president and that there had been no transfer of presidential power to Vice President Pence. On October 2, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, next in line for the presidency after Pence, said that the White House had not contacted her about continuity of government. Military: Some national security analysts said the president's diagnosis put the United States into "uncharted territory" and "deep into the danger zone". Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Trump's hospitalization raises serious national security concerns and that adversaries should be expected to exploit any vulnerabilities of the United States. However, several former defense officials downplayed concerns of foreign opportunism and argued that the U.S. national security apparatus — including the nuclear command-and-control elements of that system — is resilient enough to withstand the impact of an ill or incapacitated president. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Mick Mulroy said, "Unless symptoms are severe enough for the commander-in-chief to be incapacitated, it would not require a change of the chain of command," and that it was unlikely an adversary would use the situation to "test" the U.S. Mulroy did, however, call on national security leaders to be present in Washington, D.C., to "ensure the continuity of government and send a message to any adversary that may want to exploit the situation." On October 2, the Pentagon issued a statement saying, "There's no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected" by Trump's diagnosis. Mental fitness concerns: According to a large study of COVID-19 survivors, one in five of those infected develops a mental illness within three months. There was some concern that Trump's steroid treatment could affect his mental state. One expert commented: "Some patients may develop psychiatric symptoms after being treated with steroids including euphoria, mood instability, rage or psychosis. It is rare, but occurs often enough that we recognize them as undesirable side effects of steroid therapy." Professor of Emergency Medicine Esther Choo warned "we tell people that it can make them feel really hyper. It can make them behave very strangely." Among patients administered dexamethasone, about 30% develop "moderate psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, mania, or delirium". About 6% develop psychosis. After Trump left the hospital for a motorcade excursion and posted over a dozen all-caps tweets, it was speculated that the president was suffering from "steroid-induced psychosis". Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "I would never want to say the president is experiencing steroid-induced psychosis, but it is certainly concerning to see some of his actions today in the wake of this potentially deadly diagnosis and infectious disease." According to reporting by Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, Donald Trump Jr. expressed concerns on October 4 that the president was "acting crazy". Privately, White House aides had concerns about the effects of medications causing Trump's "animated mood". On October 5, Trump tweeted that he was "Feeling really good" and felt "better than I did 20 years ago", contributing to some speculation that his mental state was a side effect of medication. On October 3, Trump issued an all-caps tweet calling for passage of a coronavirus stimulus bill. On October 4, it was publicly announced that Trump had been administered dexamethasone the previous day. On October 6, Trump unexpectedly announced on Twitter that he was halting negotiations on a stimulus bill. The announcement caused another sudden drop in the stock market, and Speaker Pelosi questioned if his steroid use was affecting his decision-making. Trump reversed this decision in another tweet sent seven hours later. Commenting on the tweets, Dr. Choo observed: "Anytime he's doing a Twitter storm in all caps, it looks a little manic." Choo described Trump as a "presidential guinea pig" since "He's on all these medications, he's on that monoclonal antibody cocktail that we don't even know the side effects to, because it hasn't been well studied. Then he's on the Remdesivir, which is really a brand new medication in the context of COVID, which itself can cause alterations to your brain and your behaviour. And then add on the steroids." On October 8, Speaker Pelosi announced plans for a meeting the following day to discuss the 25th Amendment. Reactions: The White House infections could have been prevented, according to Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and White House Coronavirus Task Force member. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, has stated that the outbreak and specifically Trump's diagnosis would lead to more calls for transparency about Trump's health as well as conspiracy theories about how he was infected. Dr. Megan Ranney, a leading voice on personal protective equipment, said that Trump's infection was a "preventable but predictable national security risk". Julie Pryde, head of the Champaign-Urbana health district, said that the White House outbreak was preventable with basic infection-control measures. Some medical experts noted that dexamethasone is typically administered in severe and critical cases of infection, to suppress an immune system overreaction that attacks vital organs which can lead to death. Dexamethasone has not been shown to be effective in milder cases of the disease. Others noted that such steroids can have mood-altering side affects ranging from depression to mania, even delirium and psychosis. There was also a risk of harmful drug interactions by administering several therapeutics at once. Some experts noted a so-called "VIP syndrome," in which a prominent patient insists on directing his own medical care, suggesting the president may have sought aggressive treatment without understanding the potential risks. As a Navy doctor, Conley is obliged to follow orders of the commander in chief. After Trump extensively promoted hydroxychloroquine as a defense against infection in spring 2020, Conley administered him a two-week regimen of the drug, despite no studies finding it was effective and it had potentially dangerous side effects. United States public: The response from the US public was mixed, and often split along ideological lines. Some supporters of Joe Biden said they weren't surprised that Trump and other Republicans had tested positive, due to a perceived lack of precautions from Trump and other Republican Party members. Trump supporters expressed sympathy for the president. Some people, on the left and on the right, said they did not believe the diagnosis. Comedian Michael Che wished Trump "a very lengthy recovery" on the Saturday Night Live news satire sketch Weekend Update. An October 2–3 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that American disapproval of Trump's handling of the pandemic had increased from the previous week, with 65% of registered voters agreeing with the statement "if President Trump had taken coronavirus more seriously, he probably would not have been infected." Another poll on October 6 revealed that 21% of respondents were more likely to wear a mask due to the news of Trump acquiring the disease. Twitter announced that any posts wishing for Trump's death would be removed for violating the platform's terms of service. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley criticized Twitter for not taking threats against them seriously, pointing to longstanding posts calling for their deaths that had not been removed. Facebook and TikTok announced similar policies. United States politicians: On October 2, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that he and Jill Biden send their "prayers for the health and safety" of Donald and Melania Trump. He took all of his negative political ads off the air following the announcement of Trump's diagnosis. His running mate Sen. Kamala Harris said that she and her husband Doug are sharing their "deepest prayers for the health and recovery of the president and the first lady." Former president Barack Obama extended his "best wishes" to Trump and said that he and Michelle Obama hope for a speedy recovery for the Trumps. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "I always pray for the president and his family that they're safe" and said that she received the news with "great sadness". Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wished Donald and Melania Trump and White House staffers a "speedy recovery". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed he had not visited the White House since August 6 because of his private concerns that safety protocols were not being observed. International politicians and leaders: Many politicians around the world expressed wishes for a quick recovery; others commented on the lack of response to the pandemic and the downplaying of the virus. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others issued statements of support over the outbreak through social media. Others were more critical of the outbreak; French government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned that the virus spared no one, even those skeptical about its reality and seriousness. Radoslaw Sikorski, a European Parliament member and former Polish foreign minister, tweeted that Trump should not try to treat himself with bleach, referring to Trump's earlier suggestion to try using disinfectants as a COVID-19 treatment "by injection inside or almost a cleaning." Misinformation and conspiracy theories: Shortly after the announcement that Trump had tested positive, misinformation and conspiracy theories began proliferating social media. Many of the conspiracy theories were politically motivated, aided by conflicting and contradictory information announced to the public by the White House, the presidential medical team, and Trump himself (through his tweets). Michael Moore promoted the conspiracy theory that Trump might be faking his diagnosis. Similar theories were posted on social media, postulating that Trump was feigning the illness so he could quickly recover and downplay the threat of COVID-19, delay the 2020 presidential election, or to distract the public from the reporting about his tax returns. Conversely, the vice presidential debate on October 7 triggered "a wave of speculation" that Pence might be symptomatic. Some theories were spread by supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, who believe that COVID-19 is a narrative constructed by a Democratic Party deep state to seize power in the United States, and that Trump's positive diagnosis was tactical, as part of a larger plan to arrest Hillary Clinton. List of COVID-19 infections and notable exposures: White House personnel held multiple events in the days prior to the outbreak. On Sept. 26, a nomination event for Judge Barrett was held. The following day, Gold Star families attended an event. White House personnel traveled to Ohio to attend the first presidential debate, as well as campaign events in Duluth and Bedminster, New Jersey. On Nov. 3, prior to the second outbreak, a watch party was held in the East Room of the White House. Timeline of events- June-September 2020: -June 20: Trump rally in Tulsa attended by over 6,000. Hicks, Cain, two Secret Service agents, two staffers, and a journalist later test positive. -July 30 : Death of Herman Cain -August 17 : Trump rally at Mankato, Minnesota attended by 500 -August 20 : Trump rally at Lackawanna, Pennsylvania attended by several hundred -September 5-7 : Crede Bailey, head of the White House Security Office, fell ill with COVID-19. -September 13 : Trump rally at Henderson, Nevada attended by 5,000. -September 16 : At least one unnamed staffer tests positive -September 17 : Trump rally at Mosinee, Wisconsin attended by thousands -September 18 : Trump rally at Bemidji, Montana attended by thousands, 16 attendees test positive, 2 hospitalized -September 24 : Pence and Ivanka Trump attend event at Minnesota hotel; 3 attendees test positive -September 26 : 150 guests attend Rose Garden ceremony nominating Amy Coney Barret; A reception follows. At least 18 attendees tested positive. -Trump rally at Middletown, Pennsylvania attended by thousands -Debate prep team meets at the White House. At least 7 team members later tested positive September 27 : Golfing- -Reception for 40 Gold Star families, at least 3 attendees later tested positive -Debate prep team meets at the White House September 28 : -Debate prep team meets at the White House -Press conference announcing a new COVID-19 testing initiative September 29 : -Debate prep team meets at the White House -First presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio; At least 4 attendees later tested positive September 30 : -Private fundraiser in Shorewood attended by about 40 guests -Duluth rally attended by 2,500 people. At least 4 White House personnel in attendance later test positive -Hope Hicks quarantined -Crede Bailey hospitalized in late September October 2020- October 1-15: October 1, three known cases: -Kayleigh McEnany holds press briefing despite knowledge of exposure; she later tested positive. -Fundraiser at Bedminster golf club in New Jersey is attended by 200; 2 White House team members in attendance later test positive -Trump tests positive -Hope Hicks diagnosis revealed by Bloomberg News -Sean Hannity appearance -Stephen Miller begins self-quarantine. -Eric Trump holds rally in Rothschild, Wisconsin October 2 , 25+ known cases: -Trump announces his diagnosis via Twitter -Trump airlifted to Walter Reed October 3 , 28+ known cases: Trump in hospital -Chris Christie hospitalized October 4 , 28+ known cases: Trump in hospital, motorcade excursion -Barr enters quarantine -Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump photographed exercising while masked; the two are not publicly seen in the coming days. October 5 , 32+ known cases: Trump returns to White House -Giuliani interviewed while exhibiting cough October 6 , 35+ known cases: -Admiral Charles Ray, Coast Guard aide to the President Jayna McCarron, and an unnamed military person who serves as valet to the President test positive -Joint Chiefs of Staff self-quarantine due to exposure via Admiral Ray -White House aide Stephen Miller and Assistant Press Secretary Jalen Drummond's positive test is announced October 7 , 36+ known cases: -General Gary Thomas tests positive -Rudy Giuliani reveals he is undergoing 'prophylactic' treatment Vice presidential debate October 8 -The Commission on Presidential Debates announces that the second debate will be held in a virtual format, due to Trump's COVID diagnosis -Donald Trump Jr. holds a tightly packed indoor rally in Florida -Pence cancels events and returns to D.C. October 10 : -White House holds event on the South Lawn where Trump appears on balcony to address hundreds of attendees. Pence returns to campaign with events in Orlando and at The Villages. October 12 -White House physician reports Trump has tested negative for COVID-19. -Trump attends campaign rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Sanford, Florida. -October 13 : Trump rally at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. -October 14 : Trump rally at Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa. -October 15 : Trump rally at Pitt–Greenville Airport in Greenville, North Carolina. October 16-31 October 16 -Trump rally at Ocala International Airport in Marion County, Florida. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who would later test positive for antibodies, was in attendance. -Trump rally at Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Bibb County, Georgia. -October 18 : Trump rally at Carson City Airport in Carson City, Nevada. October 19 -Trump rally at Prescott Regional Airport in Prescott, Arizona. -Trump rally at Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Arizona. October 20 : -Trump rally at Erie International Airport in Erie, Pennsylvania. -Melania Trump cancelled her first schedule appearance since developing symptoms, citing a "lingering cough". -October 21 : Trump rally at Gastonia Municipal Airport in Gaston County, North Carolina -October 22 : Final presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee -October 23 : -Trump rally at The Villages Polo Club in Sumter County, Florida. -Trump rally at Pensacola International Airport in Escambia County, Florida . Rep Matt Gaetz spoke and signed autographs; He would later develop antibodies. October 24 : -Trump rally at Pickaway Agriculture and Event Center in Pickaway County, Ohio. -Trump rally at Waukesha County Airport in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. -Five aides to Pence test positive. October 25 : -Trump rally at Manchester–Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire . October 26 : -Trump rally at Lancaster Airport in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. -Trump rally at Altoona–Blair County Airport in Blair County, Pennsylvania. October 27 : -Trump rally at Capital Region International Airport in Clinton County, Michigan. -Trump rally at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin. -Trump rally at Eppley Airfield in Douglas County, Nebraska. October 28 : -Trump rally at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport in Mohave County, Arizona. -Trump rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Maricopa County, Arizona. November 2020 November 1: -Thousands gather at Dubuque Regional Airport, Iowa for a Trump rally. Chuck Grassley and Donald Trump Jr. would later test positive. -Tightly packed Trump rally at Rome, Georgia draws 30,000. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler attended; Loeffler would later test positive. -Rally at Opa-Locka Airport in Miami draws thousands. Two attendees, Sen. Rick Scott and Carlos Gimenez , would later test positive. -November 2: Thousands attend Trump Rally at Kenosha Airport in Wisconsin. Donald Trump Jr. would later test positive. -November 3: About 200 attended election night event in the White House East Room; Mark Meadows, David Bossie, Ben Carson, Brian Jack, Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump Jr. would later test positive. -November 5: Trump rally at Republican headquarters in Atlanta; Donald Trump Jr. would later test positive. -November 6: Mark Meadows tests positive for coronavirus. November 7 : -Florida's house representative Matt Gaetz tests positive for coronavirus antibody but not the live virus, indicating that he was infected with coronavirus at some point in the past. -The Trump Campaign holds an event at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Corey Lewandoski would later test positive. -November 8 : Trump campaign advisor David Bossie tests positive for COVID-19. Bossie had been placed in charge of the Trump campaign post-election strategy the week prior when Mark Meadows' COVID-19 status was made public. -November 9 : Secretary of HUD Ben Carson tests positive for coronavirus. He had been in attendance at the November 3 election night event at the White House. -November 11 :White House political director Brian Jack is revealed to have tested positive for coronavirus over the previous weekend. Jack was also at the White House election night event. -November 12 : Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign advisor working on the post-election legal team, is revealed to have tested positive for coronavirus on Wed Nov 11. Lewandowski was present at the election night party following which several other White House staff and Trump campaign workers have received a COVID-19 diagnosis. -November 13: Rick Scott attends packed event for Loeffler and Perdue at Black Diamond Grill in Cummings, Georgia. Scott reportedly entered quarantine after returning to Florida. Loeffler would later test positive. -November 15: Donald Trump Jr. tests positive "at the start of the week". -November 17: Chuck Grassley reports testing positive. -November 19: Giuliani holds press conference. Two attendees, Andrew Giuliani and Boris Epshteyn, would later test positive. -November 20: -White House aide Andrew Giuliani, Senator Rick Scott, and Donald Trump Jr. revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19 -Pence holds rally with David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Canton, Georgia. Loeffler would report testing positive the following day. -November 21: Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler reports testing positive. -November 25: Boris Epshteyn reported to have tested positive for COVID-19. -November 27: Carlos Gimenez reported to have tested positive.