The introduction of the COVID-19 virus has precipitated a variety of responses from a range of different institutions. But there is disagreement about whether or not institutional responses have been effective and timed efficiently. For example, university researchers in Washington State working alongside state public health officials petitioned agencies within the federal government and the University of Washington to allow testing for the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told leaders in Washington State to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval. Hospital administrators in Northern California criticized federal agencies for their narrow testing criteria, which delayed their response by four days. Once testing requirements were lifted, pharmaceutical companies and lab technicians quickly got into action.
To understand the current crisis requires an understanding of the regulatory and institutional actions taken since January. This chart produced by Senior Research Fellow, Will Rinehart, documents all of the major regulatory changes adopted at the federal level and when they were taken. This timeline shows how and when regulatory agencies at the center of this crisis responded.