Pandemic timeline in Southern California: Here’s how it all happened

“Coronavirus”: The first time that word appeared on this publication’s website in relation to the mysterious new disease emerging in China was Jan. 17, in a story about LAX being one of three U.S. airports to begin screening passengers.

A week later, Los Angeles and Orange counties had their first confirmed cases. The virus spread throughout February and began killing Californians, though we didn’t realize it until later. March was when much of the public began to take the threat seriously as public health emergencies were declared, “social distancing” entered our vocabulary, Wall Street tanked, schools closed, sports leagues shut down and Tom Hanks — gasp, not Tom Hanks! — tested positive.

Saturday, Sept. 19 marks six months since California ordered unprecedented stay-at-home rules. Take a look back in this timeline of local and national events, from the controversial (shutdowns and mask orders) to the sad (grim milestones of cases and deaths) to the surreal (toilet paper shortages and Zoom-bombing). Then see how some of those events corresponded to the coronavirus curve in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

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