CHICAGO (CBS) — One year ago today, the New York Times filed a report that detailed the news of a mysterious virus in China, one that had infected people in the Wuhan region. At the time, it was not clear whether this new coronavirus was especially contagious or deadly.
One year later, we all know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is both.
The Times reported then that Chinese health officials had initially identified the virus that had sickened about 60 people to that point. It was believed the virus was transmitted from an animal, which officials did not identify, to humans. More research, officials said, was needed to determine whether the virus could be spread from one person to another.
Since then, nearly 22 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and 367,000 have died. The daily death counts right now (4,000+) are the highest since the start of the pandemic here. Globally 88 million people have been infected and 1.9 million have died. The United State, by far, has reported the most cases and deaths than any country in the world.
Illinois had one of the first known cases of COVID in the country. (There were likely other cases that had gone undetected until then.) The state now has more than one million cases.
Here are some key dates during the first few weeks of the outbreak:
Jan. 8: New York Times reports about a new coronavirus in the area of Wuhan, China. At the time, it was not clear whether it could be transmitted from human to human but health officials were researching.
Jan. 17: Screening for COVID begins at some international airports in the United States as all travelers from China are diverted to those locations. Chicago’s O’Hare airport begins screening a few days later.
Jan. 20: The CDC confirms the first case of COVID-19 in the United States. It is a man from Washington state who had returned to the U.S. on Jan. 15 from China. He had visited the Wuhan area. The man, in his 30s, was hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia.
Jan. 20: China confirms people can be infected with COVID-19 from another person.
Jan. 24: First case of COVID reported in Illinois (second known case in the U.S. at the time). Woman in her 60s who had returned from China on Jan. 13. She had respiratory symptoms and recovered after she was treated and isolated at a hospital for several days.
March 16: First person in Illinois dies of COVID-19. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office identified the patient as Patricia Frieson, 61, of Chicago. On Friday, about 17,400 people in Illinois were dead of COVID-19.
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