California and the Coronavirus: A Timeline
The first reported California death was a month ago. It seems more like an eon has passed.
How does coronavirus hit a state? First slowly, and then very fast.
California was one of the first places in the U.S. to be hit with the coronavirus, and also one of the earliest to take action. Here’s a timeline, with some national events for comparison:
Jan. 25. First California coronavirus case reported.
Feb. 10. President Trump: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
Feb. 25. San Francisco declares coronavirus emergency.
Feb. 28. First confirmed case of community spreading in California.
March 10. Trump: “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
March 9. UC Berkeley ends in-person classes. Trump tweets: “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power … to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”
March 14. Trump declares national emergency and tweets “SOCIAL DISTANCING!” At that point, there are 2770 confirmed coronavirus cases and 57 deaths in the U.S.
March 16. The six Bay Area counties issue “shelter in place” orders.
March 24. Trump: “I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
March 31. Bay Area counties tighten restrictions, closing parks; shutdown extended to 5/3.
April 3. 12, 831 confirmed California coronavirus cases to date, 285 total deaths. U.S. reports 278,000 cases, over 7000 total deaths. Trumps says remaining states without social distancing are “not in jeopardy,” leaving restrictions up to them.
April 15. One model predicts that California cases will peak on this date, while other models predict a peak sometime in May with a gradual reduction thereafter.
There are a couple of obvious takeaways. First, California announced social-distancing measures more quickly and with a much more consistent message than the federal government. Second, “slowly, then suddenly” is really true. Almost nothing visible happened in January and February. Then in March, events came rushing.
We’ll find out later this month how well California’s public health response has worked. Some models project that new cases here may be peaking, others are less optimistic. I’ll issue updates of this timeline as we see how things progress.