It was in January that the first known case of the new coronavirus, not yet named, appeared in the U.S. in Washington state. We published an explainer on what the coronavirus is and whether you should worry. At the time, news coverage seemed to take sides: either “everybody panic!” or “meh, it’s nothing.” The public health experts I follow were taking a different tack, eyeing it cautiously and saying “don’t worry, yet.”
We urged readers to use their nervous energy to get a flu shot, noting correctly (in retrospect) that the less flu there is going around, the better off we all are, whether there ends up being a pandemic or not. We also predicted, incorrectly, that there would likely be more flu deaths than coronavirus deaths by the end of the year.
We also told you about the Johns Hopkins tracker, and our screenshot taken near the end of the month reported 2,886 confirmed cases. The same website is still useful today, but the global case count stands above 82 million.