FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — For many, the first eight months of 2020 have been a blur. There are a lot of reasons people’s lives changed in many appreciable ways this year, not the least of which is the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 as it has come to be known.
But how did we get here? From the first case to the lockdown, to the eventual reopening — to more lockdowns — let’s look at the timeline of COVID-19 in California’s Central Valley and how we got from the first two cases to 50,000.
Dec. 31, 2019
Reports emerged of a mysterious pneumonia sickening dozens in China.
Jan. 21, 2020
Doctors in the U.S. discovered the country’s first case of coronavirus. The man diagnosed with the illness returned to the Seattle area after traveling to the Wuhan, China area, where the outbreak is reported to have begun.
Jan. 23, 2020
China closed off Wuhan, halting transportation and warning against public gatherings to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops stood guard at entrances to Wuhan’s train station.
Jan. 30, 2020
The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus outbreak a global emergency after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week. The U.N. health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.
Jan. 31, 2020
The United States declared a public health emergency. Americans returning from Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, were required to undergo 14 days of quarantine. Others returning from elsewhere in China were allowed to self-monitor their condition for a similar period.
Feb. 6, 2020
Santa Clara health officials say two people died of the coronavirus in California becoming the first known COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. Those deaths, discovered to be COVID-19-related in April, occurred weeks before what was thought to be the first death from the disease.
March 4, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency saying it would ensure additional resources were available to control coronavirus and help the state prepare for a broader spread of COVID-19.
March 7, 2020
The Fresno County Department of Public Health confirmed the county’s first case of COVID-19. Officials say it is was a travel-related case and was not community-acquired.
March 9, 2020
The Grand Princess cruise ship forced to idle for days off the coast of California because of a cluster of coronavirus cases aboard began to transfer its thousands of passengers to military bases for quarantine or return them to their home countries.
March 12, 2020
Disney announced, for just the third time in the history of the park, that it was closing Disneyland and California Adventure.
President Trump suspended all travel from Europe with the exception of the United Kingdom for 30 days. On the same day the World Health Organization categorized COVID-19 officially as a pandemic.
Fresno State suspends in-person, on-campus classes to transition to virtual instruction.
Large crowds lined up to panic-buy bottled water, toilet paper and other household essentials as fears of COVID-19 intensified.
March 13, 2020
President Donald Trump announced a declaration of the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency freeing up to $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.
Within a matter of hours, most school districts in the Central Valley closed their doors indefinitely. Simultaneously, large gatherings and events in the area were postponed or canceled.
March 18, 2020
The city of Fresno issued an emergency order asking residents to “shelter in place” effective Thursday amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
March 19, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a statewide “shelter in place” order promising that grocery stores would remain open, kids could still play outside, and food could still be picked up at restaurants.
March 23, 2020
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to postpone the 2020 Winter Olympics in Tokyo a year due to the ongoing pandemic.
March 24, 2020
750 sailors from Naval Air Station Lemoore on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt were forced to divert to Guam, where all 5,000 aboard will undergo testing due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
March 27, 2020
A U.S. Navy hospital ship arrived at the Port of Los Angeles, bringing 1,000 hospital beds to help local hospitals bracing for a COVID-19 cases surge in the county.
April 6, 2020
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved into the intensive care unit at a London hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.
April 8, 2020
Unemployment claims hit a record high as California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that out-of-work Californians will be getting an extra $600 on top of their weekly benefits.
April 22, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California had seen the most deaths in 24 hours since the coronavirus outbreak began in the state saying that there have been 115 deaths due to coronavirus-related complications.
April 23, 2020
The Central San Joaquin Valley crossed the 1,000 cases mark of COVID-19.
April 30, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered beaches in Orange County to close until further notice after tens of thousands of people packed beaches during a sunny weekend.
May 1, 2020
Protests broke out across California as discussions over the state’s reopening began.
May 7, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a broad loosening of his stay-at-home order, allowing some retailers to reopen without in-store customers.
May 10, 2020
Anti-lock down sentiment intensified as a man was detained by police right outside a Fresno restaurant that opened its doors to the public despite city and state order.
May 19, 2020
Stage 2.5 of reopening in California began and included retail, dine-in restaurants and office-based businesses among others with precautions.
May 26, 2020
The city of Fresno’s Shelter-in-Place order ends after more than two months, though the State’s framework was still in place.
June 1, 2020
Nearly 600 inmates and 21 employees in Avenal State Prison contract COVID-19.
June 4, 2020
Gambling in Las Vegas resumed as casinos reopened.
June 12, 2020
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo reopened for the first time in 89 days with social distancing and other new precautions in place.
June 26, 2020
The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 40,000.
June 29, 2020
California orders local bars and breweries shut down again in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.
July 1, 2020
Due to an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the closing of indoor operations at restaurants and other businesses in Fresno, Kings, Merced, Tulare, and Kern counties.
July 2, 2020
Hospitals in Fresno County activated surge protocols after seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients.
July 17, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that schools will not physically reopen at the start of the school year and will instead practice distance learning.
July 30. 2020
Herman Cain dies after a month-long battle with coronavirus.
Aug. 11, 2020
The Mountain West Conference announced postponement all fall sports including Fresno State Football.
Aug. 13, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom says California is showing improvement in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic
Aug. 14, 2020
Immanuel Schools in Reedley defied state and county orders by having in-person classes.
Aug. 19, 2020
The Central Valley reached 50,000 cases of COVID-19. The six-county region includes Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Tulare, and Kings counties.
More than 170,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19-related illness.
COVID-19 resource links:
- Fresno County
- Tulare County
- Madera County
- Mariposa County
- Merced County
- Kings County
- Kern County
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response