The novel coronavirus swept through the D.C. area, spurring massive changes in the way we live our lives — from whether we go to work to how our children are educated.
Below is a timeline of some of the key developments over the past year.
Reports first emerge of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness linked to an outdoor food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Doctors and scientists studying the illness determine the viral pneumonia is caused by a new type of coronavirus, according to reports in Chinese state media.
At that time, 59 people had contracted the illness, local authorities said. Later that month, the entire province is locked down. The lockdown would last 76 days.
The U.S. confirms the first known cases of the new coronavirus in the country: five cases in Washington state, all among people who traveled to the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak.
Maryland and Virginia saw the first people in the D.C. area tested for the new coronavirus. Those tested included a Maryland resident and a George Mason University student. However, the results came back negative.
For the new few weeks, health departments in D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported a trickle of new test results — all negative.
The World Health Organization declares the outbreak a global emergency after the number of cases worldwide spikes more than tenfold in a week.
The U.S. declared a public health emergency.
President Donald Trump signed an order that temporarily bars from the U.S. foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days.
The WHO gave the disease caused by the novel coronavirus a name: COVID-19.
The U.S. recorded its first coronavirus death: a man in his 50s at a long-term care facility in Washington state.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced three people in Maryland, all in Montgomery County, had tested positive for the virus — the first three known cases in the D.C. region. The first cases in the state included a married couple in their 70s and a woman in her 50s who had returned from a cruise along the Nile River.
Hogan announced a state of emergency.
Two days later, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the first known coronavirus case in the District. The Rev. Timothy Cole, the rector of Georgetown Christ Church, had recently traveled to Kentucky for a church conference. Several other parishioners would later test positive amid a burgeoning outbreak.
That same day, Virginia also recorded its first case: a U.S. Marine stationed at Fort Belvoir.
D.C.’s Mayor Bowser declared a public health emergency and urged all large gatherings planned in the District to be postponed or canceled. At the time, there were 10 confirmed coronavirus cases in D.C. — and more than two dozen in the broader D.C. region.
Health officials said there was evidence that community transmission of the coronavirus was occurring.
It was also on this date the WHO first characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.
In a dramatic announcement, Maryland Gov. Hogan issued an order banning all large gatherings of people and activated the National Guard, while the state superintendent of education ordered all public schools in the state to close for two weeks.
Hogan’s announcement came after officials announced the first known case of a patient being infected with coronavirus through what’s known as community transmission.
That same day, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also declared a state of emergency.
Following Maryland’s move closing schools for two weeks, D.C. and Virginia announced schools would be closed through the end of March.
D.C.’s Bowser also issued a new order banning gatherings of 250 people or more in response to the spread of the virus. The mayor’s previous measure had been only a recommendation. The threshold would later be lowered to 10 people, in line with CDC guidance.
That same day, speaking from the White House, Trump declared a national emergency.
The region marked a sad milestone: the first coronavirus death in D.C., Maryland or Virginia.
Health officials said they weren’t sure how the James City County, Virginia, man in his 70s had contracted the virus, and they suspected the virus was spreading in the community.
D.C.’s Bowser ordered all bars and restaurants in the District to operate as carryout and delivery only. In addition to restaurants, the D.C. Health Department said movie theaters, health clubs, spas, massage parlors and other large businesses also need to close.
Maryland’s Hogan issued a similar order.
The number of coronavirus cases around the region continued to climb, reaching more than 100.
At a White House briefing that day, Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force called on Americans to practice social distancing and to avoid gatherings for the next 14 days.
Following the moves by Maryland and D.C. to close restaurant dining rooms and movie theaters, Virginia’s Northam issued an order enforcing a 10-person limit in restaurants and other businesses. He would later order entertainment venues closed entirely.
Maryland marked its first coronavirus death: A Prince George’s County man his 60s with an underlying medical condition.
At the time there were about 200 coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
In a further clampdown on public gatherings, Maryland’s Hogan ordered all shopping malls and entertainment venues in the state to close. He also issued an order lowering the threshold on gatherings to 10 people or less, and promised it would be enforced by law enforcement.
Elsewhere, Italy overtook China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths at the time — more than 3,400 — and the governor of California issued a statewide order for people to stay home.
In addition, Bowser extended her order banning dine-in services at restaurants and requiring them to operate on a takeout or delivery-only capacity through most of April.
That same day, D.C. also recorded its first death from COVID-19: a 59-year-old man.
In New York, which was soon to become the initial U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, the governor issued a “shelter-in-place” order, directing residents to stay home.
In another whirlwind of official pronouncements, Maryland’s Hogan ordered nonessential businesses in the state to close, and Virginia’s Northam ordered all public schools to keep their doors closed through the end of the academic year.
In D.C., Bowser ordered the National Guard and D.C. police to block roads near the National Mall and the Tidal Basin in an attempt to limit large crowds visiting the cherry blossoms.
Earlier that month, organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, usually one of the District’s marquee spring events, canceled most of the festivities.
At the time, the number of coronavirus cases in the region had climbed to more than 650 and the number of deaths stood at 11.
Following Maryland’s earlier move, D.C.’s Bowser ordered nonessential businesses, such as salons, barbershops and clothing stores, in the city to close.
The Metro transit system, which had already announced service reductions, announced it was closing more than a dozen rail stations indefinitely. Ridership had fallen by 90% as many workers around the region worked from home.
By that point, the region recorded more than 800 coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.
Congress passed and Trump quickly signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law, known as the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act.
The measure included an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans, provided loans to keep small business afloat and a plan to send stimulus checks to millions of Americans.
Nationwide, the number of coronavirus infections surged past 100,000 and the number of deaths topped 1,500.
In D.C., Maryland and Virginia, the number of coronavirus cases hit nearly 1,700 and the number of lives lot stood at 22.
In the most significant step taken to fight the spread of the virus, the leaders of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia issued formal “stay-at-home orders.”
All three orders were similar, directing residents to stay in their homes except for trips to the grocery store, to get medical care, going to essential work and outside recreation as long as social distancing guidelines were followed.
In all three jurisdictions, restaurants were allowed to stay open, offering takeout and delivery service.
The total number of coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia hit more than 2,900, with 39 deaths.
Officials in D.C. unveiled a model of projected coronavirus infections that estimated up to 93,000 total infections in the District and deaths at anywhere from 225 to 1,000.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force unveiled a new recommendation from the CDC: Americans should cover their faces with a cloth mask or other face covering when leaving the house, especially in places such as grocery stores where practicing social distancing is difficult.
Overall, coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia topped 5,500. The number of deaths reached more than 100.
In a first-of-its-kind virtual session, the D.C. Council unanimously approved a major coronavirus relief bill.
Among other provisions, the legislation includes a citywide freeze on rent increases, mortgage-payment deferrals, an expansion of unemployment insurance and the mailing of an absentee-ballot application to every voter.
The legislative action came as an economic analysis by the city estimated $607 million in lost revenue from shuttered businesses and out-of-work residents. Bowser ordered District government agencies to freeze hiring and salaries.
D.C.’s Bowser issued a new order requiring grocery stores to limit the number of customers inside stores and requiring customers to cover their faces.
The total cumulative number of cases of COVID-19 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia grew to over 10,000, and 226 people had died.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order requiring customers to wear face masks or face coverings inside grocery stores and other retailers throughout the state and on any form of public transportation.
In D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser extended a series of social distancing measures, including a stay-at-home order, the closure of nonessential businesses and public schools, and a ban on large public gatherings through May 15. Those measures were originally set to expire April 24.
And in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam extended an executive order closing recreation and entertainment businesses and banning large gatherings until May 8.
The news came as the region marked its deadliest two days of the pandemic, up to that point. Maryland, alone, recorded 40 deaths on each of those two days. All told, the coronavirus had claimed more than 616 lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and the number of total infections stood at more than 18,700.
In D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that students would not return to classrooms, and the school year would end three weeks early.
Caravans of protesters under the banner “Reopen Maryland” gathered near the statehouse in Annapolis to protest the closing of business, churches and schools.
Similar groups of protesters would also gather in Richmond, Virginia, April 22, when the General Assembly met for an unprecedented outdoor session.
The state of Maryland acquired 500,000 new COVID-19 tests from a South Korean health care company after weeks of complicated negotiations that were spearheaded by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and first lady Yumi Hogan.
Hogan called the $9 million purchase “game-changing” and said it would significantly ramp up the state’s testing capacity. The much-heralded tests would later come under scrutiny, and a state health official admitted the first batch of tests did not work properly and had to be returned.
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region marked a grim milestone with number of coronavirus deaths reaching more than 1,000. The number of infections topped 26,000.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled a three-stage plan for gradually easing coronavirus restrictions in the state, including the stay-at-home order he issued in late March.
The governor said he was hopeful the state could begin easing some of the restrictions listed in the first stage by early May, but it would depend on whether hospitalizations and deaths continued to decline.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order requiring that all residents and staff members at nursing homes around the state be tested for the coronavirus, regardless of whether they show symptoms.
By the late spring, the surge in cases had filled up hospital beds around the region and within just 10 days, the number of deaths across D.C., Maryland and Virginia had doubled, to more than 2,000. At that point, there were 45,000 total cases in the region.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the commonwealth would be ready to begin reopening some businesses, such as barbershops and restaurants, May 15 as part of the first phase of the state’s coronavirus recovery plan.
Under the first phase of the reopening plan, gyms, restaurants and retail shops could reopen but with lower capacities.
At the time, there were more than 51,000 total cases and more than 2,200 deaths across D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Education officials in Maryland announced schools in the state would remain closed for the rest of the school year. Also, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the state appeared to be on track to begin Phase One of the state’s reopening plan as early as May 15.
By this point, there were more than 54,000 cases and nearly 2,500 deaths across D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other District officials opened the Washington Convention Center as an alternate care site. It took the Army Corps of Engineers about three weeks to transform the convention center into a 437-bed field hospital. Starting May 11, it was able to accommodate 100 patients. But Bowser said the facility was more like the District’s “insurance policy” in case hospitals faced an influx of coronavirus patients.
“We hope that we will never have to use it, but it is here and staffed for when we do or if we do,” she said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan lifted the state’s stay-at-home order, and officially moved the state into Phase One of its coronavirus recovery plan.
Under the first phase, retail businesses in the state could reopen at 50% capacity, as well as barbershops and hair salons. However, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms remained closed.
The governor allowed local jurisdictions to delay their moves into Phase One, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties — the two largest in Maryland — did so.
Meanwhile, Virginia also entered Phase One of its recovery plan on May 15.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted the District’s stay-at-home order as the city entered Phase One of its coronavirus recovery plan. Under the plan, restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining, and nonessential retailers were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup.
Maryland gave the OK to a host of nonessential businesses to reopen, including retails shops, bank branches and houses of worship. It was part of the state’s Phase Two plan unveiled by Gov. Larry Hogan.
However, as with the lifting of Phase One restrictions, Hogan allowed local leaders to lift their own restrictions more slowly than the state guidelines. Leaders in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties announced their counties would remain in Phase One.
In Prince George’s County, officials announced the county was moving to what they called a “modified” Phase Two plan. Under the plan, retailers, hair salons and restaurants could all reopen indoor service with capacity limits.
The county’s transition to a full Phase Two plan didn’t come until June 25.
Montgomery County officially entered its Phase Two recovery plan. In Phase Two, restaurants could restart indoor dining limited to 50% capacity and resume limited indoor services at houses of worship, among other changes.
D.C. moved into Phase Two of its coronavirus recovery plan. Under Phase Two, a host of activities resumed, including indoor dining at 50% capacity, indoor shopping at nonessential businesses, and the reopening of parks and gyms with safety restrictions.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a “safe and phased” reopening plan for assisted living facilities in the state, which required universal screenings and face coverings for staff and visitors, mandated widespread testing and allowed for limited visitation.
Virginia relaxed even more restrictions, moving into Phase Three of its coronavirus recovery plan, which lifted capacity caps on nonessential retail and restaurants, and allowed entertainment venues to reopen at 50% capacity.
Large school systems in Maryland and Virginia — including Montgomery County Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools — announced plans begin the school year with students remaining out of the classroom and conducted classes entirely online.
Earlier, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized Fairfax County’s earlier plan for a hybrid in-person and virtual model, saying “schools must fully open, and they must be fully operational.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued stricter rules for mask-wearing in the District, essentially requiring people to wear masks anytime they’re in public.
A few days later, D.C. issued an order requiring people coming to the District from “high-risk” areas after nonessential travel to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The measure came amid a rise in coronavirus cases across large parts of the U.S., including in the South, the Midwest and the West.
In the D.C. region, the pace of new infections and deaths showed evidence of slowing over the summer. The total number of cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia toped 172,000 and the number of people who had died stood at 6,036.
The U.S. marked another grim milestone in the pandemic, with 150,000 lives lost to the virus.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced stricter mask rules in the state.
Under the new order, which went into effect July 30 at 5 p.m., face masks are required inside public buildings and at outdoor events if it is not possible to maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet between individuals.
Previously, face coverings were only required inside retailers and on public transportation.
Meanwhile, officials with D.C. Public Schools announced public schools in the District would have an all-virtual start to the coming school year.
An extra $600 a month unemployment boost and other measures for workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that had been negotiated by Congress as part of the CARES Act in March expired.
There was no immediate replacement, and congressional leaders and the White House remained far apart from a deal on further COVID-19 relief measures.
Months after beginning Phase 2 of their reopening plan, D.C. announces that they will likely remain there for months before moving into Phase 3. The city remains in a modified Phase 2 as of late December 2020.
After showing progress in the state’s battle against the virus, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces that Maryland was ready to enter Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
The city of Alexandria, Virginia, announces that it will mandate the use of face masks both indoors and outdoors beginning Oct. 1.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela Northam, test positive for COVID-19. Both made full recoveries.
President Donald Trump announces that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19.
Both would go on to make full recoveries, but Mr. Trump spent several days receiving experimental treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before returning to the White House.
The Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers face off in the World Series after a heavily modified season. The Dodgers would go on to be crowned champions of the lowest-attended World Series in over 100 years.
The 2020 Presidential Election is held in the United States. Americans everywhere turn out to vote, though many opted to do their civic duty via mail in ballot or voted early because of the pandemic. Former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the victor after a longer than usual period of voting.
Maryland renews its travel advisories as cases surge around the country.
D.C. requires visitors to the city to be tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to stay in the District.
Montgomery County, Maryland, suspends late night alcohol sales amid rising case numbers.
The United States passes 10 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson joins the growing list of officials who test positive for COVID-19.
Pfizer announces that its COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective.
The company immediately went about readying itself to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of approval from the U.S. government. Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated that the vaccine would be available to most Americans who wanted one by April 2021.
The University of Maryland announces that it would suspend its football program after several people affiliated with it tested positive for COVID-19.
Two days later, the university announced that it will move its undergraduate courses online after a spike in virus cases around the campus. Students are asked to return home, if possible. Those who remain are urged to restrict their activities.
The National Zoo, all reopened Smithsonian museums around the National Mall and the National Gallery of Art announce that they will once again close to the public on Nov. 23.
Several more D.C.-area museums would follow suit in the next several days.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser places heightened restrictions on the city’s Phase Two reopening plan in an effort to curb the spread of the virus ahead of the winter months.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urges Marylanders to be cautious during the winter months and urged residents to wear their masks, equating those refusing to wear masks to drunk drivers.
Thanksgiving in the U.S., typically a time to gather with family even as U.S. health officials pleaded with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.
The D.C. region headed into the holiday with coronavirus cases soaring.
Later, health officials would see a surge in cases linked to the holiday.
Faced with sharply reduced ridership months into the pandemic, D.C.’s Metro system proposed major service cuts, including shutting down the system entirely on weekends, closing at 9 p.m. on weeknights and and closing 19 rail stations, which were temporarily closed earlier during the pandemic but reopened in August when Metro restored service levels.
Dec . 4
The CDC issued its strongest guidance on wearing masks yet, calling for “universal mask wearing” during all activity outside one’s home. The federal guidance comes months after authorities in the D.C. area issued similar rules.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized an emergency rollout of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. In a still-unfinished study of nearly 44,000 people, the FDA found the vaccine was safe and more than 90% effective, providing hope a large-scale vaccination could be the beginning of the end of the outbreak.
The news came after the broader D.C. region marked a grim milestone as the total number of lives lost to the reached more than 10,000 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Overall, the total number of cases stood at more than 520,000.
Officials in the D.C. area put into place a host of new measures designed to curb spiking coronavirus case.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a nightly curfew — from midnight to 5 a.m. “If you don’t need to go out, go home,” Northam said at a news conference.
D.C. Mayor Muriel lowered indoor dining limits from 50% to 25%. Leaders of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland — among the hardest hit jurisdictions in the state — went even further, temporarily clamping down on indoor dining entirely for the next month.
Nationwide, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. topped 300,000 just as the first vaccinations around the county began to get underway.
As continues and hospitalizations continued surging across the region, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a new order limiting travel to essential purposes and requiring any Marylanders who travel outside the state to get a negative COVID-19 test result or self-quarantine.
In D.C. five members of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department become the first five city employees to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
Maryland and Virginia each donate 8,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to D.C., more than tripling the amount available for frontline workers in the District.
D.C. announces that it will ban indoor dining in the city, among other restrictions, as cases continue to rise
Congress passes a two-day stopgap funding bill to keep the government running as Democrats and Republicans continue to argue over the coronavirus stimulus package.
The annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington Cemetery goes on, though it is only open to the families of those buried there, and stretches across the week, instead of taking place over a weekend.
After months of gridlock, Congress reaches an agreement to fund the government and offer $900 billion in economic relief for people and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
In a surprise move, President Donald Trump implies that he would veto the coronavirus stimulus package unless the direct payments to U.S. citizens was increased from $600 per individual to $2,000.
Montgomery County, Maryland, receives its first batch of the Moderna vaccine.
Congress holds a rare Christmas Eve legislation session in an attempt to increase the direct payments to American citizens in the stimulus bill to $2,000. House Republicans block the effort, leaving the future of the legislation in doubt.
The Association Press contributed to this report.