Timeline shows events surrounding the coronavirus, one year since it arrived in Arizona

Covid Arizona timeline
Posted at 8:26 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 20:16:57-05

PHOENIX — The last 365 days have been a rollercoaster that made terms like "social distancing," "mask up," and "the new normal" part of everyday vocabulary.

On a day when the biggest headline started off as the death of basketball icon Kobe Bryant, the first coronavirus domino fell in Arizona.

Scroll through each point in the timeline below to see significant milestones our state has gone through since COVID-19 first officially reached Arizona.

Jan. 26, 2020 marks the day the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in the state -- an adult connected to Arizona State University was one of just five cases nationwide.

Looking back, a lot happened very quickly in just the first two months of that announcement. Within a week of Arizona's first case, the U.S. declared a health emergency. We started hearing from Arizonans quarantined on cruise ships dealing with outbreaks.

In just one month's time, the first COVID-19 death happened in Seattle and the ripple effect was swift. It set off the ultimate scavenger hunt for toilet paper and hand sanitizer in the Valley.

By March came the first big blows to Arizona's economy as Spring Training was canceled, along with festival season and the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

The next significant date in the pandemic was March 20, 2020, when the first Arizonan, a Phoenix man, died as a result of coronavirus. Over the next year, the state would mourn the loss of more than 12,000 lives.

From there survival became a real concern at nursing homes and families started to be cut off from visiting.

Spring break ushered in the tipping point for schools. The first cases started showing up on campus, Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman issued a joint video announcing the closure of schools statewide and remote learning began, leading to the one of the most contentious topics in the year ahead.

About the same time, the Navajo Nation started leading the nation per-capita in cases and weekend lockdowns began.

Governor Ducey followed suit, issuing Arizona's first and only lockdown order nearly two months to the day from the state's first case. Bars, restaurants, and gyms were all forced to follow a curfew and intermittent closures would follow in the months ahead. The morning rush, as a result, would transform into hurriedly logging into Zoom calls as more people switched to working remotely.

In April 2020, testing sites started opening, becoming some of the busiest drive-thrus in town. Also, the first Arizonan, a young Valley man, donated convalescent plasma after recovering from the virus in hopes of helping others recover.

By summer, wearing masks was part of the new normal, along with arguments about them as counties were left to make their own rules.

Then-President Donald Trump came to Phoenix to tour Honeywell's PPE production, but he also announced he was ready to shut down his Coronavirus Task Force. Trump's Phoenix visit kicked off a series of state visits where he hosted mask-free rallies as his supporters continued to do the same at Arizona's state capitol.

COVID fatigue was becoming even more clear by fall as cases started to surge again but hope also started to lift spirits as Arizonans started volunteering to test coronavirus vaccines.

Though it was two months after federal officials promised, one of the clearest signals of a path through the pandemic came on Dec.13, 2020 as the first trucks of the approved Pfizer vaccine rolled out of a Minnesota warehouse and within days, the sleeves of our healthcare heroes started rolling up.