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Since the new coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December, the infectious respiratory disease COVID-19 has spread rapidly within China and to neighboring countries and beyond.
The first confirmed coronavirus cases outside China occurred on Jan. 20, in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. On Jan. 21, the first case in the U.S. was identified in Washington state.
On Jan. 24, the first two European cases were confirmed in France. By Feb. 1, eight European nations had confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a month later that count had risen to 24 countries with at least 2,200 cases, most of them in Italy. On March 11, Italy eclipsed 10,000 cases and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic — the first since H1N1 in 2009. That’s also when China, the original epicenter, began seeing drops in daily counts of new cases.
March also saw exponential spread of the virus throughout the U.S., with all 50 states reporting cases by March 17.
This particular virus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, is only the third strain of coronavirus known to frequently cause severe symptoms in humans. The other two strains cause Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Click here to see the state-by-state breakdown of cases in the United States.
This story was originally published on March 30, 2020.