This article was updated April 9, 2021 at 8:16 a.m.
On March 13, 2020, then-President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency, making federal resources available to combat the spread of the virus available. This directed state governments to set up emergency operations centers, hospitals to activate emergency preparedness plans and allowed the health secretary to "waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals — all hospitals — and healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus."
By then, COVID-19 had spread globally with 14,384 cases officially reported with many more undetected or underreported. No one imagined the ferocity of the virus, as global cases — as of now — have reached 118 million with an average of 370,000 new cases added daily.
Looking back a year ago, we could not have imagined how significantly COVID-19 would change our lives. We have watched it unfold day by day as we have lost family, friends, jobs and personal savings. With the rollout of vaccinations there is hope we are on the road to recovery, leading us to wonder: When will life return to normal and what will normal life look like?
This timeline puts into perspective the significance COVID-19 has had on society, the struggles we face to contend with a pandemic, and perhaps illuminates what we want a better future to be.
December 30, 2019
Chinese ophthalmologist Dr. Li Wenliang warns fellow doctors of a possible outbreak of a severe acute respiratory syndrome-like illness in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Police order Wenliang to stop spreading "misinformation."
January 9, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Chinese authorities have made "a preliminary determination that the outbreak is caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus identified in a patient hospitalized for pneumonia in Wuhan." Chinese authorities announce "the virus in question can cause severe illness in some patients, but does not transmit readily between people."
January 21, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms the first case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States in the state of Washington. Authorities say the patient with the confirmed infection returned to the U.S. six days earlier from Wuhan. The CDC also reports that although the virus was initially thought to spread from animal to human, "there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening." Still, it's unclear how easily the virus spreads.
January 26, 2020
Health officials confirm the first two cases of the new coronavirus strain in Orange and Los Angeles counties. The patient in L.A. County had flown through Los Angeles International Airport on his way home to Wuhan. The virus affecting each person is the same strain as the one that has spread to more than 2,700 people in 14 countries and killed 80 people since its discovery in China.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is killed along with eight other people, including one of his daughters, in a helicopter crash near a Calabasas hillside. He was 41.
January 31, 2020
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar II declares a public health emergency for the U.S. to help the healthcare community respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus. "While this virus poses a serious public health threat, the risk to the American public remains low at this time, and we are working to keep this risk low," Azar says.
February 1, 2020
An ill 80-year-old passenger who left the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Hong Kong five days earlier is diagnosed with the infection caused by the coronavirus. In days, 3,600 passengers and crew are forced to quarantine in their rooms. More than 700 people will become infected, and 14 will die.
February 2, 2020
Global air travel is restricted. The U.S. implements a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all American travelers from China. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines suspend all fights to China.
February 6, 2020
Dr. Li Wenliang, the first to warn of the virus, dies after becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China. He was 33.
February 11, 2020
The WHO formally renames the infection caused by the coronavirus as COVID-19.
February 25, 2020
CDC officials say COVID-19 is heading toward worldwide pandemic status and that it is only a matter of time before there is widespread transmission in the U.S. The virus is spreading in Italy, Iran, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan among other countries. Azar says the risk of getting COVID-19 is still low, but that could quickly change.
February 26, 2020
Trump appoints Vice President Mike Pence to coordinate his administration's response to COVID-19. Trump, facing mounting criticism about a slow response, downplays the danger. "The risk to the American people remains very low," he says. More than 81,000 people are infected worldwide, and nearly 3,000 have died from the disease.
February 26, 2020
The CDC confirms that a person with no known risk factors for contracting the coronavirus has become infected with COVID-19 in Northern California.
March 4, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom declares a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway in state agencies and departments and help the state prepare for the spread. The number of cases is rising, and one official death has been reported. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also declares a local emergency for the City of Los Angeles.
March 11, 2020
The WHO declares COVID-19 a global pandemic after 118,000 people contract the illness and 4,300 die in 114 countries. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the number of cases, deaths and affected countries will climb. In the U.S., where testing is slow, 1,000 cases have been diagnosed, and 29 people have died.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tests positive for the coronavirus, prompting the NBA to postpone a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After the test results become public, the league suspends the season and plans to determine how to move forward.
Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, reveal they have tested positive for the coronavirus after preparing to film a movie in Australia. The couple goes into quarantine.
March 12, 2020
The NCAA cancels its March Madness tournament. MLB postpones its March 26 opening day by at least two weeks. The NHL and MLS follow suit in delaying their seasons.
March 13, 2020
Trump declares a national emergency, freeing up $50 billion in federal resources to combat the coronavirus. During his announcement, Trump denies he made mistakes that some health experts say worsened the crisis, including slow test-kit distribution. "I don't take responsibility at all," he says.
Trump's 30-day travel ban goes into effect at midnight. The ban restricts most travel from 26 European countries to the U.S. but does not affect flights from the United Kingdom. U.S. citizens are exempt from the restrictions but will be directed to a select number of airports with added health screenings.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announces the cancellation of classes for two weeks.
March 14-15, 2020
Panicked shoppers across Southern California clear store shelves of toilet paper, nonperishable foods and cleaning supplies all weekend as they worry about a looming coronavirus shutdown.
March 15, 2020
Newsom orders all bars, nightclubs, wineries and brewpubs to close; tells adults age 65 and over and those with chronic health conditions to stay home, allowing restaurants to remain open with reduced capacity so customers are socially distanced.
March 16, 2020
Trump acknowledges the gravity of the coronavirus and issues strict social distancing guidelines in a bid to slow hospitalizations. The guidelines include avoiding gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoiding bars, restaurants and food courts and working and attending school from home. "We have an invisible enemy," he says.
The Dow Jones experiences its largest point drop in history, losing 2,997.10 points during the trading day.
March 17, 2020
The University of Minnesota launches two clinical trials to test the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. One trial will look at whether it prevents COVID-19, and the other will probe whether it works as a treatment for the disease.
Over one hundred deaths nationwide are reported. A Washington Post analysis reveals that most people who have died had underlying health conditions, including diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure or lung ailments. About 85% of the victims were over 60 years old, and about 45% were over 80. More than a third were living in residential care facilities.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation announces that all campgrounds in the California State Parks system will close to slow COVID-19's spread.
March 19, 2020
Italy reports 427 additional deaths for a total of 3,405 and passes China to lead the world in total coronavirus deaths. The majority of victims are older than 70. By March 8, 2021, Italy will report over 100,000 total deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Garcetti issues a "Safer at Home" emergency order that calls on residents to stay in their residences and limit activities to "critical tasks such as securing food and health, safety and medical necessities, as well as caring for children, elder adults, family, friends and people with disabilities." Clothing and some other retail stores are ordered to end in-person attendance.
Newsom also issues a stay-at-home order to "protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19."
March 20, 2020
Yosemite National Park, closes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Soon, the wildlife will reclaim it.
March 22, 2020
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul becomes the first senator to test positive for coronavirus.
March 25, 2020
Newsom announces financial help for Californians, including a 90-day waiver of mortgage payments by Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and roughly 200 smaller banks and credit unions. Bank of America agrees to a 30-day waiver. For the next 60 days, there will be a moratorium on initiating foreclosure sales or evictions.
March 26, 2020
More than 500,000 cases are confirmed worldwide.
March 27, 2020
Trump signs a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to aid Americans dealing with economic hardships from the pandemic. The law includes direct payments to taxpayers, enhanced unemployment benefits, loans for hard-hit industries, expanded provisions for business taxes, funds for small business loans, as well as funds for states, municipalities and medical facilities.
March 29, 2020
California State Parks close vehicle access to all 280 state parks to prevent a surge in visitors after after many state parks experienced them on Saturday, March 27, 2020.
March 30, 2020
Instacart workers go on strike demanding the San Francisco-based company provide hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, hazard pay of $5 per order and an expanded sick pay policy. Macy's, Kohl's and Gap furlough most employees.
April 2, 2020
California confirms 10,000 cases.
More than 1.9 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits since March 12, 2020, an average of more than 111,000 claims per day over the last week.
April 3, 2020
The CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force recommend that Americans wear face coverings when in public, especially when it is difficult to maintain social distancing.
April 6, 2020
According to a survey from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services, hospitals report that widespread personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages are putting staff and patients at risk. The report also says more PPE usage than normal, a lack of a robust supply chain and higher prices from some vendors are contributing to the shortage. Hospital administrators also report being concerned about a shortage of specialized personnel needed for an anticipated patient surge, staff exposure to the virus and the emotional toll the pandemic is having on workers.
April 7, 2020
Garcetti issues an emergency order to require so-called "essential workers" to wear face coverings. The order, which will go into effect April 10, also requires customers at grocery stores and other essential businesses to wear masks. It also states that businesses must also implement physical distancing measures for workers and allow employees to wash their hands every half hour. "We need to protect every worker on the front lines of this crisis," Garcetti says.
I’m executing a Worker Protection Order: starting Friday, April 10th, employees & customers at many non-medical essential businesses such as grocery stores will be required to wear face coverings to take care of those who are taking care of us. More info: https://t.co/lbT15nJO5z— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee. In a video message to supporters, Sanders says, "I could not in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and which would interfere with the important work required by all of us in this difficult hour."
April 9, 2020
Stop AAPI Hate, an online anti-Asian racism tracker, gets more than 1,400 reports of racism against Asian Americans, which have been fueled in part by Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric when talking about the coronavirus.
April 10, 2020
Cases in the U.S. pass 500,000. Globally there are more than 1.6 million cases and more than 100,00 deaths.
April 12, 2020
After Trump approves Wyoming's declaration, all 50 states are under a major disaster declaration for the first time in U.S. history. The final declaration comes on the same day the United States passes Italy for most deaths from the coronavirus with 21,686. New York is the hardest-hit state with 9,385 deaths. Trump announces, "We are winning, and will win, the war on the Invisible Enemy!"
April 15, 2020
Hundreds of protesters, some armed, converge on Michigan's capital, Lansing, to express their anger over Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders for businesses to close and for residents to stay at home from work and school. The next day, Trump will say governors decide when states reopen and will appear to encourage the demonstrations by tweeting "Liberate Minnesota!" and "Liberate Michigan!" Trump will later call the protesters "very responsible." "These are people expressing their views," he will say. Similar "Operation Gridlock" protests involving mostly conservative groups will occur in states across the nation during the next few weeks.
April 23, 2020
During a White House briefing, Trump suggests that scientists test whether injecting bleach and disinfectants in the body could kill the coronavirus. He receives backlash from scientists, doctors, lawmakers and the manufacturer of Lysol, who clarify that disinfectants are toxic. Trump will later say he was joking.
April 25, 2020
Americans across the nation swarm to beaches and parks despite orders to stay home.
April 28, 2020
The U.S. tops 1 million confirmed cases.
May 1, 2020
Gilead Sciences Inc.'s remdesivir is granted emergency use authorization. It is the first drug approved to fight COVID-19 symptoms.
May Day protests take place outside the State Capitol with thousands demanding an end to stay-at-home orders.
May 8, 2020
Newsom signs an executive order to send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the general election.
May 12, 2020
Los Angeles County officials recommend that the stay-at-home order be extended until August to continue efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
May 13, 2020
The Hollywood Bowl summer concert season is canceled for the first time in a century.
May 14, 2020
Nearly three million more Americans file for unemployment, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to more than 36 million. Economists forecast that the unemployment rate could hit 18% in May. In California, more than 21% of the state's workforce is unemployed and 4.2 million residents have lost their jobs during the past eight weeks.
May 15, 2020
Trump announces "Operation Warp Speed," a public and private partnership to coordinate efforts to enable the approval and production of COVID-19 vaccines. The name comes from "Star Trek," where it refers to faster-than-light travel.
May 16, 2020
UC Berkeley's graduation is held on Minecraft with a digital replica of the campus called Blockeley University. Seniors taking part are given digitized caps and gowns and the chance to toss their caps into the air at the ceremony's conclusion.
May 23, 2020
During the Memorial Day weekend, demonstrators across California, including Sacramento, Los Angeles and Huntington Beach, protest Newsom’s stay-at-home order.
May 25, 2020
George Perry Floyd Jr., 46, a Black resident of Minneapolis who lost his security job during the pandemic, is killed during an arrest due to allegedly trying to pay with a counterfeit $20 bill in a store. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is caught on a cell phone video kneeling on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd's death sparks protests and marches in cities across the U.S with calls for police reform. Floyd's recorded statement, "I can't breathe," will become a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement and efforts to "defund the police."
May 27, 2020
U.S. deaths pass the 100,000 mark, almost twice the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.
May 28, 2020
The Boston Marathon is canceled for the first time in its 124-year history. Usually, dozens of elite runners, 30,000 recreational and charity runners, and a half million spectators line the route. Organizers say the race presented difficulties for social distancing.
The @BAA has announced that the 124th Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event, following Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s cancellation of the marathon as a mass participation road running event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/tlIdvsU9sq— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) May 28, 2020
June 5, 2020
Trump signs the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 into law. The law gives recipients of government small business loans during the coronavirus more flexibility in how they spend the money.
The California Department of Public Health releases guidelines for Phase Three of its economic reopening, which will allow individual counties to begin reopening schools, gyms and bars as early as June 12.
June 10, 2020
More than two million cases are confirmed in the U.S.
June 14, 2020
California records more than 5,000 deaths.
June 18, 2020
Newsom requires masks or face coverings to be worn in public and at work statewide, overriding individual county guidelines.
June 19, 2020
Angelenos mark Juneteenth with marches and protests as Americans confront racism.
June 30, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warns new cases could hit 100,000 a day "if this does not turn around."
July 1, 2020
Reversing a decision to open some businesses, Newsom orders a halt to indoor service at restaurants and other businesses in Los Angeles, Orange and 17 other counties following a surge in cases and hospitalizations. Besides restaurants, the order affects indoor wineries and tasting rooms, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor movie theaters, indoor zoos and museums and indoor card rooms. Los Angeles County also closes its beaches for the Fourth of the July weekend.
July 13, 2020
Due to a spike in cases, Newsom reimposes a statewide closure of gyms, indoor dining, bars, movie theaters and museums.
July 14, 2020
The CDC calls on Americans to wear masks to prevent COVID-19's spread.
July 16, 2020
Target and CVS Health announce that masks will be mandatory for customers in all stores nationwide, joining a growing list of corporations with this requirement, including Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, Kohl's and Kroger.
July 21, 2020
Trump holds the first COVID-19 briefing since April and encourages mask-wearing. He continues to call the coronavirus "The China virus."
July 23, 2020
Baseball opens with a 60-game season without fans. Portions of the playoffs and World Series in October are played in a "bubble" isolation zone in Texas.
Trump calls off the Republican National Convention because of the coronavirus.
July 30, 2020
The NBA season resumes following a four-month hiatus with 22 teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers, taking part in a "bubble" isolation zone at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.
August 3, 2020
Two San Quentin State Prison inmates die from COVID-19 complications, bringing the total number of deaths in California prisons to 49. Nine condemned inmates at San Quentin have died from the virus, far more than have been executed since 1978.
August 8, 2020
Following weeks of failed negotiations with Congress on a new stimulus package, Trump signs four executive orders, one of which includes mandating an extension of federal unemployment benefits of $400 per week to replace a $600 weekly benefit that expired in July. The president's orders also extend a freeze on evictions, reduce the 7.65% Social Security and Medicare payroll tax to boost take-home paychecks and allow borrowers with federally held student loans to defer payments without penalty.
August 9, 2020
New Zealand marks its 100th day without a newly diagnosed case.
August 11, 2020
Biden announces he has chosen California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.
August 14-15, 2020
A heat wave forces rolling blackouts in California.
August 17, 2020
California, Oregon and Washington wildfires complicate pandemic response.
California counties go on and off the state watch list.
The Democratic National Convention holds its first day virtually.
August 28, 2020
Newsom announces California is halting its "watch list" system of tracking COVID-19 cases and moving to a four-tier color-coded system — purple, red, orange and yellow — that will determine how counties can reopen businesses. Purple, the most severe tier, requires non-essential businesses to be closed. Yellow allows most indoor businesses to open with modifications. Thirty-eight of California’s 58 counties are in the purple tier.
August 31, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a hair appointment at a San Francisco hair salon despite health orders forbidding it to operate.
September 2, 2020
Newsom announces California will use $600 million to buy hotels, motels and apartment buildings to house the homeless.
Sept 6, 2020
The Bobcat Fire starts in L.A. County. It will burn until December 18, 2020 and will blacken 115,796 acres.
September 17, 2020
Newsom signs two worker protection laws. One expands access to workers' compensation and makes it easier for first responders, health care workers and others who test positive because of an outbreak at work to get medical care and wage replacement benefits. The other law requires that employees and local and state public health officials be notified of positive cases so workers can take precautions, including quarantining, testing and medical help.
September 20, 2020
More than 15,000 Californians have died from COVID-19.
September 21, 2020
Three days after posting information on its website that said the novel coronavirus could transmit beyond six feet, the CDC removes language saying it is "possible" that it spreads through airborne transmission. The agency had previously said the virus spread mostly via large drops encountered at close range but changed that briefly to indicate small particles could do so as well.
September 22, 2020
The death toll in the U.S. passes 200,000.
September 25, 2020
Students and activists worldwide hold climate strikes in some 3,500 locations to protest the lack of action by world leaders on the climate crisis.
The U.S. tops 7 million cases.
September 28, 2020
Global deaths surpass 1 million.
September 30, 2020
The Walt Disney Company announces it will lay off 28,000 people, mostly part-time employees, in its U.S. parks division. The company also reports a 91% drop in profit following the March closures of Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney World in Orlando because of the pandemic.
October 2, 2020
Trump, and first lady Melania Trump test positive for COVID-19. Trump flies to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to get treatment for the disease.
October 12, 2020
The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Miami Heat to win the franchise's 17th championship. Following a celebration, the players are able to leave the "bubble." Los Angeles plans a parade sometime in the future.
October 22, 2020
Remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences, Inc. is the first and only drug to receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to treat COVID-19.
October 24, 2020
California records more than 900,000 cases.
October 27, 2020
The Los Angeles Dodgers clinch their first World Series championship since 1988. Third baseman Justin Turner receives a positive COVID-19 test result and is pulled from the game but joins his teammates for the on-field celebration.
October 30, 2020
California opens a $25 million lab in Valencia to increase COVID-19 testing as the state's coronavirus positivity rate increases. Newsom says the facility is needed as the demand for testing is expected to increase during the upcoming flu season. The lab will increase testing ability by at least 75%.
November 4, 2020
The U.S. unprecedented 100,000 new cases in one day.
November 5, 2020
Media organizations project that Biden has collected 264 electoral votes and needs just six more to become the 46th president of the U.S. Trump has 214 votes. Results have not been called in Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Through the early count, Trump leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, while Biden is ahead in Nevada.
November 7, 2020
Biden is declared the projected winner of Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, giving him enough to become the next president.
November 9, 2020
The U.S. becomes the first country to surpass 10 million coronavirus infections.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. reports its COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective based on early test results, bringing optimism that the pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide could soon be brought under control. Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer's senior vice president of clinical development, tells the Associated Press, "We're very encouraged."
November 10, 2020
As cases soar across the country and the holiday season looms, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington issue travel advisories urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine for 14 days to slow the spread of the virus. The advisories urge residents against non-essential out-of-state travel.
November 15, 2020
The U.S. hits 11 million cases.
November 17, 2020
U.S. regulators allow rapid tests.
November 18, 2020
Pfizer Inc. releases the phase three study of its vaccine, revealing it is 95% effective after both doses.
November 19, 2020
California passes 1 million cases.
Newsom orders an overnight curfew for all California counties in the purple tier amid climbing cases. The curfew affects 41 of the state's 58 counties, including more than 94% of the state's population. It begins at 10 p.m. on November 21.
November 20, 2020
Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech apply to the FDA for an emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine.
November 24, 2020
California officials report the state has paid $140 million in unemployment benefits to at least 35,000 prison inmates who filed fraudulent claims. Scott Peterson, sentenced to death for killing his wife Laci and their unborn son in 2002, is among those who received benefits.
November 22, 2020
As cases double from what they averaged two weeks earlier, Los Angeles County shuts down outdoor dining the day before Thanksgiving. Restaurants may offer takeout and delivery, but no on-site dining is allowed. Los Angeles County, which has the highest number of cases among California counties, issues a new stay-at-home order that establishes a curfew for all non-essential trips from 10 p.m. to morning, except for restaurant takeout and delivery.
As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, the LA County Health Officer Order will be modified to restrict dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars, effective Wednesday, November 25 at 10:00 p.m. pic.twitter.com/SQo08dF63A— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) November 22, 2020
December 1, 2020
L.A. County hospitalizations hit a peak. Daily new cases reach a record high of 7,600.
December 2, 2020
The U.K. announces "help is on the way" as it becomes the first Western country to approve the usage of the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer's German partner, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin says, "We believe it is really the start of the end of the pandemic." The U.K. orders 40 million doses to vaccinate 20 million people. An initial 800,000 doses will be delivered in a week with older adults in care homes, their caregivers, health workers and other vulnerable people first in line for shots.
December 8, 2020
The U.S. tops 15 million cases.
December 12, 2020
The FDA issues Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine authorization for emergency use in the U.S. Vaccines will be made available in days and hospitals are first in line.
December 14, 2020
Helen Cordova, an intensive care nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Boulevard, is the first person to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the hospital.
December 15, 2020
Fearing hospitals and morgues will be overwhelmed, California orders 5,000 body bags and 60 refrigerated trucks as the state experiences an intense surge following the holidays. Governor Newsom reports the state's 14-day positivity rate is 10.7%, the highest since the pandemic began. More than 32,300 cases and 142 deaths are reported, and California sets records for patients hospitalized (14,283) and in the ICU (3,081). Hospitals see a 68% increase in hospitalizations.
December 18, 2020
The FDA authorizes the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The two-dose vaccine can be used for people who are at least 18 years old.
December 21, 2020
Congress passes a $900 million COVID relief bill which includes sending $600 checks for most Americans.
President-elect Biden receives the coronavirus vaccine on live television.
December 23, 2020
The U.S. buys millions of Pfizer vaccines.
The CDC estimates that one million first dose COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the U.S.
December 30, 2020
As hundreds continue to die in Los Angeles County, some funeral homes report they are turning families away because they have reached capacity. County officials announce the coroner's office will help to store bodies because hospitals and mortuaries are overwhelmed.
January 1, 2021
The U.S. surpasses 20 million cases.
January 6, 2021
Thousands of Trump's supporters storm the U.S. Capitol as senators and members of Congress meet to certify Biden as president. Lawmakers are forced to evacuate as the crowd breaches the building and runs amok in the Senate and House chambers and Pelosi's office for hours. Once the insurrection is quelled, Biden is officially elected.
January 13, 2021
The CDC estimates that 10 million first dose COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the U.S.
California allows those age 65 and older to get vaccinated.
Disneyland opens its parking lot as a major vaccination site in Orange County.
January 15, 2021
Dodger Stadium opens as the largest vaccination site in the country, capable of vaccinating thousands of people a day.
January 20, 2021
Biden is sworn in as president. In his inaugural address, he pledges that the U.S. can bring the pandemic to an end but warns that "the toughest and deadliest period" of the crisis might be ahead.
February 1, 2021
More people in the United States have received their first dose of the vaccine than have been infected with the coronavirus.
February 2, 2021
A CDC order begins at 9 p.m. for all travelers to wear masks while using any form of public transportation, as well as rideshares and airplanes.
February 12, 2021
California announces that beginning March 15, people ages 16 to 64 who are disabled or at high risk for death from COVID-19 from underlying conditions can receive a vaccine based on availability. Local officials can decide the vaccination order as seniors, medical workers, teachers and first responders are already eligible.
February 16, 2021
The Federal Emergency Management Agency opens large-scale vaccination sites at the Oakland Coliseum and Cal State Los Angeles. The sites are part of a plan to open 100 sites across the nation in 100 days.
February 22, 2021
The death toll in the U.S. exceeds 500,000. Nearly 50,000 of the deaths are in California.
February 26, 2021
An FDA panel unanimously endorses a single-shot coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. It could authorize the vaccine over the weekend with distribution beginning as soon as Monday, March 1.
February 27, 2021
The FDA approves the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use in the U.S.
March 1, 2021
California's 7-day test positivity rate sets a record low of 2.3%.
Workers in education and child care, food and agriculture, and law enforcement and emergency services become eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in Los Angeles County.
March 2, 2021
Texas and Mississippi reopen and lifts mask mandates.
March 4, 2021
California's public schools could tap into $6.6 billion from the Legislature if they return to in-person instruction by the end of March, according to a new agreement announced between Newsom and the state's legislative leaders.
March 6, 2021
A week after the House of Representatives passes President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package, the Senate follows, passing a slightly altered bill that includes provisions to pay $1,400 to most Americans, extend $300 weekly benefits to $9.5 million unemployed people and provide $350 billion in aid to state and local governments. The funding includes money for vaccine distribution, to reopen schools and colleges, aid renters and expand the child tax credit.
March 10, 2021
Congress passes the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes sending stimulus checks for millions of Americans.
March 11, 2021
Biden signs the $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 relief package into law.
March 15, 2021
Public transit workers, people aged 16 to 64 who are disabled or have high-risk underlying medical conditions and people who work and live in congregate living spaces (including people experiencing homelessness and in federal immigrant detention) become eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in California.
After months in the purple tier, Los Angeles County enters the less-restrictive red tier, allowing indoor dining to resume. Movie theaters and gyms can also reopen at limited capacity.
March 22, 2021
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announces that campuses will begin reopening April 12.
March 25, 2021
Gov. Gavin Newsom announces that every Californian aged 16 and over will become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 15. People 50 and up will become eligible April 1.
March 29, 2021
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin begins. He is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he knelt on George Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020. Floyd was later pronounced dead. The trial is expected to last at least a month.
April 1, 2021
All Californians 50 years old and over become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
April 5, 2021
After qualifying to advance to the orange tier of the state's COVID-19 business reopening blueprint on March 30, 2021, Los Angeles County enacts loosened business restrictions, which allow movie theaters, restaurants, churches, museums, zoos and aquariums can to allow visitors at 50% of capacity. Capacity in gyms is allowed at 25%. Card rooms and family entertainment centers can resume indoor operations at 25% of capacity.
April 6, 2021
California health officials announce that all state COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, gatherings and recreational activities will be lifted June 15, provided there is vaccine availability and hospitalization rates remain low. The mask mandate will remain in place.
April 9, 2021
The Los Angeles Dodgers play their home opener against the Washington Nationals as fans look on from inside the stadium thanks to L.A.’s orange-tier status, which allows Dodger Stadium to operate at 33% capacity.
Carren Jao contributed to this article.