I googled and can’t find the article you’re talking about. Do you have a link? I’m asking because it sounds like an opinion piece not an article.1/31 Trump banned travel from China to slow the spread. On 2/1 Washington Post was telling us to get a grip (that was the headline) about Coronavirus because it's not a big deal.
Most people listened to them and Fox and whoever else downplayed it at various times.
Other people decided that new virus + clear Chinese government coverup combined with silencing doctors + freaking out on their citizens = ignore advice of the news and start getting ready.