Germany had 13 confirmed cases of the virus. The United States had 12, and the United Kingdom just 3. Sporting events, concerts and social gatherings were continuing as normal, and much of the world's population was blissfully unaware of the unprecedented crisis looming.
And for the remaining participants in the long-running reality series, that's how it has stayed.
The popular global reality TV franchise puts a group of strangers into a house for weeks on end, completely cutting off their contact with the outside world.
Producers have stuck to that principle even as borders have slammed shut, stock markets have sunk and the world has ground towards an unimaginable halt.
But on Tuesday evening, the contestants on the German program will finally be updated about the pandemic -- live, on television, in a heavily-publicized special episode of the show.
"Big Brother will give all contestants the latest information about COVID-19 in Germany and the whole world tonight," a spokesperson for the broadcaster Sat.1 told CNN, adding that the cast will be able to ask questions to the show's resident doctor.
"The first contestants had been cut off from the outside world in preparation for the show on February, 6th. Theoretically they could know about the virus outbreak in Wuhan/China but don't know anything about the current situation in Germany," the spokesperson added.
Newer contestants, who entered the show just days ago, have been banned from telling others about the pandemic.