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COVID-19: Two Timelines

May 20, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the world with intractable ferocity, many media outlets and other groups have compiled English-language timelines focused on the origin, trajectory, and spread of the new coronavirus.  HRIC has selected the following Chinese-language timelines that make use of Chinese government, news, scientific, social media sources, along with English-language sources, that tell the story of the pandemic from the perspective of those affected by it inside China and for a Chinese audience. One of the timelines dates apparent Chinese authorities’ awareness of an outbreak to September 18, 2019. We believe these timelines help broaden our understanding of the Chinese people’s experience of the outbreak than that possible from the official Chinese government narrative and timeline.

“Wuhan Memo”

“Wuhan Memo,” in both Chinese and English, is published by the U.S.-based NGO Citizen Power Initiatives for China (公民力量) working with a team of compilers and includes detailed reporting on COVID-19 related developments. It begins with an account posted on Weibo on September 18, 2019, about a sick passenger on an inbound flight arriving that day at the Wuhan Tianhe Airport who was sent to the hospital and diagnosed as being infected with a new coronavirus. The post also describes an emergency response drill exercise held the same day by customs authorities at the Tianhe Airport for handling such arrivals. The timeline covers the epidemic and response measures inside and outside China, and sources both Chinese and foreign media reports. It also includes a large amount of reporting of Chinese authorities suppressing voices speaking out about the epidemic. Each entry in the Wuhan Memo is footnoted with a source for easy reference. Chinese, English.

"Chronicle of the Wuhan New Coronavirus Epidemic (Preliminary Draft)"

Using the pseudonym "Wuhan Survivor," the compiler collected Chinese media reports about the outbreak and development of the epidemic in Wuhan from November 17, 2019 to March 16, 2020. Included are varying accounts of the first confirmed cases, doctors’ efforts in treating the sick, and reports by the police, local Wuhan Health Committee, official media, as well as government departments. The compiler, a Wuhan native troubled by the ravage of an epidemic immensely greater in magnitude than the SARS outbreak in 2003, hopes that the Chronicle can serve as a resource for all those who wish to examine its course. Annexes to the Chronicle include "Statistical table of Wuhan’s confirmed new coronavirus cases and deaths " and "Partial list of those died from the new coronavirus in Wuhan.”

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