Thursday marks 6 months since the WHO declared the coronavirus an international health emergency

Thursday marks 6 months since the WHO declared the coronavirus an international health emergency
Posted at 4:49 AM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 07:49:31-04

Thursday marks exactly six months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health crisis connected with the disease that was then simply known as the novel coronavirus.

Half a year later, the virus has infected 17 million people on every continent and killed more than 600,000 worldwide.

On Jan. 31, WHO issued a statement saying that Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the director-general of the organization, had accepted a committee's recommendation to declare the outbreak of the virus in China a "public health emergency of international concern."

At the time, the outbreak was mainly concentrated in China, as the country had confirmed 7,711 cases of the virus and 170 deaths linked to the disease. While the virus had been recorded in five other countries — including five cases in the U.S. — there had been no deaths recorded outside of China.

In its Jan. 31 declarations, the WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions, but urged countries to prepare for containment and "place emphasis on reducing human infection, prevention of secondary transmission and international spread."

The organization issued its recommendation 10 days after China reported that the virus appeared to be spreading from person-to-person, a finding that indicated the disease could have far-reaching implications. The New York Times reports that by that time, thousands had traveled out of Wuhan, the virus' place of origin, possibly spreading it around the world. China has since faced criticism for not reporting its findings sooner.

That same day, President Donald Trump took action to block entry into the U.S. of any person that had been in China for the last 14 days. The order did not apply to U.S. citizens. While the move may have temporarily delayed the virus' widespread arrival, his administration's inaction for the next month would prove costly.

During the next month, the CDC would face significant delays in developing a test for COVID-19, which would cause a testing backup in the months to come. The president also repeatedly downplayed the severity of the situation, declaring on Feb. 26 that the number of cases in the U.S. would go down to zero in the coming days.

In the months since the WHO's declaration, 150,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, and more than 4 million have been infected. Both figures are by far the most of any other country.

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

View Testing Locations Map

State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27

Rosamond Library
3611 Rosamond Blvd, Rosamond CA 93560

Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin

Wasco Library
1102 7th Street

County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa Wheelchair Logo
  • For Registration call (760) 379-2681 ext 267
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Wednesday - Thursday from 7 am - 2 pm.
Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561

Lamont - Kern County Library
8304 Segrue Road, Lamont, CA 93241
  • For registration call 661-869-6018
  • Drive-Thru and Walk-Up<
  • Testing available for ages 5+ only; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9 am - 2 pm; Tuesday, Thursday 2 pm - 7 pm

Taft - West Side Health Care District
  • For Registration call (661) 765-1935
  • Drive-Thru<
  • TTesting available for all ages; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm & 3 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 11 am – 3 pm