A Kirkland, WA, nursing home was identified as the first site of a U.S. outbreak of the novel coronavirus on Feb. 29. Just 12 days later, the World Health Organization stated it was a global pandemic.
President Trump declared a national state of emergency March 13. The death and infected counts rose rapidly, into the hundreds and tens of thousands, respectively. A nationwide prohibition on group interaction was ordered, while federal officials took the historic step — one of many — of banning all visitors from nursing homes, except for “essential” workers.
Statistics from China, where COVID-19 first raged, showed a mortality rate of about 1% in younger people but 15% or higher in seniors.
“The grim reality is that, for the elderly, COVID-19 is almost a perfect killing machine,” American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson told CNN on March 11.
State “shelter in place” decrees led to an estimated 100 million Americans staying at home.
As of mid-March, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was rising so fast that the World Health Organization said the U.S. had the potential of becoming the virus epicenter.