LOS ANGELES - 2020 turned the world upside down with a worldwide pandemic. The challenging months brought death, sickness, disruption and scientific exploration to the forefront of our lives, and many call it both the shortest and the longest year in history — and one that will certainly not be forgotten.
U.S. Cases - 0
U.S. Deaths - 0
On Dec. 30, 2019 — only two days before the new year — an email alert was issued regarding an "undiagnosed pneumonia" in the Hubei province of China.
"On the evening of [30 Dec 2019], an urgent notice on the treatment of pneumonia of unknown cause was issued, which was widely distributed on the Internet by the red-headed document of the Medical Administration and Medical Administration of Wuhan Municipal Health Committee," Pro-MED International Society of Infectious Diseases wrote.
According to Pro-MED, a China Business News reporter called the official hotline of Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Committee 12320 on Dec. 31, 2019, and learned that the content of the document was true."12320 hotline staff said that what type of pneumonia of unknown cause appeared in Wuhan this time remains to be determined," Pro-MED wrote.
"It is understood that the first patient with unexplained pneumonia that appeared in Wuhan this time came from Wuhan South China Seafood Market."Pro-MED said the unexplained pneumonia cases had characteristics including fever and imaging characteristics of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.
"All medical institutions should strengthen the management of outpatient and emergency departments, strictly implement the first-in-patient responsibility system, and find that patients with unknown cause of pneumonia actively adjust the power to treat them on the spot, and there should be no refusal to be pushed or pushed," Pro-MED wrote.
U.S. Cases - 8
U.S. Deaths - 0
In January, Chinese officials said that there was a possibility that the new virus in central China could spread between humans, but the risk of transmission appeared low.
"Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus," the Associated Press wrote on January 15. "A 61-year-old man with severe underlying conditions died from the coronavirus on Saturday."
According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, preliminary investigations indicated that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, and one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband.
On Jan. 30, top U.S. health officials held a briefing with lawmakers to discuss the spread of the coronavirus.
The lawmakers were briefed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec.
"This is a dangerous virus but, as health officials told us today, it still remains largely contained to mainland China," U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, who serves as chair of House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations panel, which oversees the CDC and NIH, said after the briefing. "That said, if this does turn into some kind of pandemic situation here in the U.S. – which we hope it will not – I am concerned about the time it will take to develop a vaccine and get it distributed to the American public."
U.S. Cases - 6,552
U.S. Deaths - 5
The U.S. announced in February that it was prepared to spend up to $100 million to help China and other countries fight the COVID-19 outbreak. The government also said it helped to deliver nearly 18 tons of medical supplies donated to the Chinese by the American people, including masks, gowns, gauze and respirators.
On Feb. 28, the World Health Organization increased its risk assessment of the novel coronavirus, as the virus had spread to at least 49 countries.
"We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said. "This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready."
On Feb. 29, the first coronavirus death was reported in Washington state, causing the governor of Washington to declare a state of emergency. In addition, more than 50 people in a nursing facility were reported sick and were being tested for the virus.
Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies to use "all resources necessary" to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
"We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus," Inslee said.
According to the Associated Press, "the man who died was in his 50s, had underlying health conditions and no history of travel or contact with a known COVID-19 case, health officials in Washington State said at a news conference. A spokesperson for Evergreen Health Medical Center, Kayse Dahl, said the person died in the facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland."
On Feb. 29, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams urged Americans not to wear face masks, as people began stocking up due to rising concerns of COVID-19.
"Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!" Adams said. "The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness."
U.S. Cases - 1,183,973
U.S. Deaths - 4,332
In March, the virus began to spread widely outside of Washington State. A victim was reported in California — the nation’s first reported fatality outside Washington.
Officials in Placer County, northwest of Sacramento, said an elderly person who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a San Francisco-Mexico cruise had died. The victim had underlying health conditions, authorities said.
As cases continued to rise in Washington, public officials faced pressure to take more aggressive steps, including closing schools and canceling large events. Some individual schools and businesses closed temporarily. Meanwhile, schools considered whether to plan for online classes in the event of prolonged shutdowns.
In New York state, with a large surge of cases, the Health Department accelerated regulations to get nursing students certified to work more quickly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration and said he was giving the U.S. health secretary authority to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals "flexibility" in treating patients.
Trump also announced a government partnership with major businesses to set up drive-thru testing centers and a website to help people who think they might have the virus.
"This is going to be a very, very painful two weeks," Trump said in mid-March during a coronavirus task force briefing from the White House.Dr. Deborah Birx discussed models that showed that projected deaths in the U.S. could range between 100,000 and 240,000 with mitigation efforts. Without mitigation efforts, the projected death count in the U.S. was between 1.5 and 2.2 million.
On March 20, the White House said a member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tested positive for coronavirus.
Pence’s spokeswoman Katie Miller said the staff member did not have "close contact" to either the vice president or Trump.
As worries over COVID-19 continued to grow, a list of major events and concerts were called off including Oktoberfest, Coachella, San Diego Comic-Con, the Kentucky Derby and the NFL draft.
Trump announced that he wanted the government to send checks to Americans in an effort to curb the economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The president has instructed me we have to do this now," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a White House briefing. "He didn't give details except to say the amount should be significant and millionaires would not get it. The proposal requires approval from Congress."
On March 25, the Senate voted unanimously, 96-0, in favor of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third bipartisan bill responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 27, the CARES Act passed the House and was signed into law by the president.
U.S. Cases - 6,636,253
U.S. Deaths - 59,599
The number of confirmed cases in the United States of the novel coronavirus was 203,608 on April 1, according to data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centers. In the United States, over 4,300 had died, and more than 8,300 had recovered.
The confirmed count came just days after Trump announced that social distancing guidelines would extend until the end of April.
On April 2, the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus across the world passed 1 million for the first time, according to data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
New York City remained the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, where there had been more than 1,900 confirmed deaths by April 1.
On April 3, the Trump administration began advising people to start wearing face masks in public to stop the spread of COVID-19, which was a reversal from previous guidance to stop wearing masks. In the White House Briefing, the CDC announced that the guidelines were voluntary and "only a recommendation."
In an April study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Monkeys infected with COVID-19 that were treated with remdesivir, a drug from Gilead Sciences Inc., were shown to be in "significantly better health" than those who were untreated.
The health organization shared the findings in a news release on April 17, noting that the amount of virus in the lungs of the monkeys who had received remdesivir was "significantly lower" than another group of monkeys who had received no treatment.
On April 14, Trump announced a new public-private partnership aimed at making as many as 60,000 ventilators available to patients in coronavirus hot spots.
Trump said the partnership would allow hospitals to lend unused ventilators to other hospitals with greater need.
On April 15, Trump said that data indicated the U.S. was "past the peak" of the COVID-19 epidemic, "clearing the way for his plans to roll out guidelines to begin to reopen the country," according to the Associated Press.
"Speaking during his daily press briefing, Trump called the data ‘encouraging’, saying they have ‘put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country,’" the Associated Press wrote.
On April 29, the number of people who died from the novel coronavirus in the United States surpassed 60,000, based on data available from Johns Hopkins.
U.S. Cases - 18,080,056
U.S. Deaths - 100,780
On May 1, U.S. regulators granted emergency use authorization of the experimental drug, remdesivir, that appeared to help some coronavirus patients recover faster from COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acted after preliminary results from a government-sponsored study showed that Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31%, or about four days on average, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
On May 15, in a press briefing, Trump discussed "Operation Warp Speed," the federal government initiative to finish the development, manufacture and distribution of a proven coronavirus vaccine.
"Operation Warp Speed, that means big and it means fast," Trump said remarking on how the initiative would accelerate the development and diagnostics of COVID-19 breakthrough therapies, and would be "unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project."
On May 20, the World Health Organization saw its largest single-day increase in reported COVID-29 cases globally, according to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"We still have a long way to go in the COVID-19 pandemic," said Tedros in a news briefing. "In the last 24 hours, there have been 106,000 cases reported to WHO – the most in a single day since the outbreak began. Almost two-thirds of these cases were reported in just four countries."
On May 30, more than 6 million people had contracted COVID-19 across the world, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
By the end of the month, the United States continued to lead the world with the most cases with over 1.7 million. The country also passed a grim milestone earlier in the week with over 100,000 reported deaths related to COVID-19.
U.S. Cases - 34,744,589
U.S. Deaths - 120,257
Protests over police brutality and racial inequality erupted nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s death, but the threat of COVID-19 remained, leading to elevated fears in the health community as huge crowds gathered.
Dr. Thomas Russo, the head of infectious diseases at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, said there were certain precautions protesters should take in order to decrease their chance of getting infected and to keep others safe.
"As a general rule, being outside is better than inside," Russo told The Conversation, an online nonprofit news publication "That’s because the larger air volume disperses the virus, and a larger space facilitates social distancing."
On June 15, the FDA rescinded its emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.
"Specifically, FDA has determined that CQ and HCQ are unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA," the FDA wrote on June 15.
On June 26, the CDC made revisions to its list of underlying medical conditions that put people at a higher risk of severe complications from the novel coronavirus. The additions to the list of high-risk conditions included: chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obesity, serious heart conditions sickle cell disease and type 2 diabetes.
On June 28, more than 500,000 people with COVID-19 had died across the world, according to John Hopkins data.
As of June 28, there were more than 10 million confirmed cases and over 5 million recoveries globally. In the United States alone, there were more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, 125,000 deaths and 679,000 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins.
U.S. Cases - 60,434,717
U.S. Deaths - 145,513
Temperatures continued to sizzle across most of the United States in July as many states combated climbing coronavirus cases.
Some experts were hopeful that the summer heat would dissipate the COVID-19 virus and provide a brief period of relief, but others expressed reservations on the notion of heat having a dampening effect on the virus in the early days of the pandemic since many areas where the virus had begun to spread were in the midst of hot summers already.
"I never thought that," Dr. William Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, said on July 13. "I think that what we have been seeing across the South and indeed in Brazil has suggested that temperature really doesn’t get too much in the way of this virus, unfortunately."
While the U.S. faced a record number of new daily cases of the novel coronavirus, it was also grappling with the issue of some Americans still refusing to wear a mask in public despite health officials warning that we must do so in order to keep the economy open and potentially save tens of thousands of lives.
"We’re in this for the long haul and one of the things that can absolutely keep cases down, and it’s been shown in studies, is having everyone wear a mask. Everyone needs to wear a mask," said Dr. Hilary Fairbrother, an emergency medicine physician in Houston, Texas, said during the first week of July.
"I understand that people don’t want to wear masks, but if that is you for whatever reason, then you also need to not be going into the store and being around people in public, because right now, we’re in a public health crisis," Fairbrother said.
On July 15, Redfield said if the American public embraced masking now and did it rigorously, the U.S. could see relatively swift changes in the trajectory of the pandemic.
"If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control," Redfield said.
In July, many scientists also began contributing the rapid spread of the virus to asymptomatic individuals.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a July 6 study referred to the phenomena of COVID-19 infections by asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals as "silent transmission."
The study said that even if symptomatic cases are isolated — such as a person being quarantined until they have recovered or tested negative for the virus — "a vast outbreak may nonetheless unfold."
On July 9, a new clinical trial to receive an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus launched. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) kicked off a new clinical trials network which aimed to enroll thousands of volunteers in large-scale clinical trials.
On July 15, The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the coronavirus pandemic could potentially reach the level of the 1918 flu pandemic, which ravaged the world between 1918 and 1920 and killed millions of people.
"This is a pandemic of historic proportions. I think we can’t deny that fact. It’s something I think that when history looks back on it, it will be comparable to what we saw in 1918," Fauci said.
On July 31, Fauci appeared before a House panel investigating the nation's response to the pandemic. Fauci expressed "cautious" optimism that a vaccine would be available, particularly by next year.
"I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, that Americans will be able to get it," Fauci said, referring to the vaccine.
"I don't think we will have everybody getting it immediately," Fauci explained. But "ultimately, within a reasonable time, the plans allow for any American who needs the vaccine to get it."
U.S. Cases - 85,406,657
U.S. Deaths - 175,752
In August, many school staff and state leaders across the country were left with decisions on whether to open schools in the fall amid the climbing coronavirus cases.
According to the Associated Press, schools in at least 10 states had "students and staff test positive for the virus since they began opening."
With only three months until the 2020 presidential election, local election authorities were also racing to ensure a solid workforce of poll workers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of localities are really worried about the number of poll workers that they’re going to have," said Ellen Weintraub, who serves as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. "We saw this in the primary where they had to shut down all sorts of polling stations and consolidate the polling stations because they just didn’t have enough poll workers."
According to Weintraub, the majority of poll workers are traditionally retirees, and those workers serve as the backbone of the in-person voting system. Because much of the elderly population is at much higher risk in the ongoing pandemic, younger people were the latest target to staff the polling sites in 2020.
As August started to wrap up its month, flu symptoms began to pick up in the U.S.
The CDC said that allergy symptoms can often mimic those of the novel coronavirus, and it may be difficult to tell the difference between the two.
U.S. Cases - 112,426,581
U.S. Deaths - 199,084
On Sept. 2, the CDC notified public health officials in all 50 states to begin planning and preparing to distribute a potential vaccine as soon as October or November.
The CDC plan laid out specifications for a potential vaccine, including requirements for distribution, storage and administration.
"For the purpose of initial planning, CDC provided states with certain planning assumptions as they work on state-specific plans for vaccine distribution, including possibly having limited quantities of vaccines in October and November," a spokesperson with the CDC told FOX TV Stations.
A CDC document said that for most vaccines, two doses separated by either 21 or 28 days will be needed for immunity and second-dose reminders for patients will be necessary.
However, the head of the WHO said the U.N. health agency would not recommend any COVID-19 vaccine before it was proven safe and effective, even as Russia and China started using their experimental vaccines.
On Sept. 4, the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted an estimated 30,000 deaths could occur from COVID-19 each day in the Northern Hemisphere as winter falls and temperatures become colder.
On Sept. 16, Trump said that a potential coronavirus vaccine could be widely distributed by the end of 2020, contradicting congressional testimony earlier that from Redfield, with Trump saying that Redfield was "confused."
Redfield told a Senate panel earlier that morning that a COVID-19 vaccine may not be broadly available to the general public until the summer of 2021. He said any vaccine available in November or December would be in "very limited supply," and reserved for first responders and people most vulnerable to COVID-19. He estimated that the vaccine wouldn’t be broadly available until the spring or summer of 2021.
In a White House press conference, Trump said that the CDC director had misspoken and that the U.S. could start distributing a vaccine starting in mid-October.
"I think he made a mistake when he said that. I think it’s just incorrect information," Trump said of Redfield’s comments. "When he said it, I believe he was confused."
Trump claimed that a coronavirus vaccine could be announced in October. "We’re ready to go immediately, as the vaccine is announced," Trump said. "We’ll be announcing the results fairly soon."Trump also said drug companies are having "tremendous success with the vaccine" but that "safety has to be 100 percent before distributing."
On Sept. 29, a Phase 1 trial of the Moderna vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus showed promising results.
A study, published on the 29th in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the experimental vaccine developed by NIAID and Moderna Inc. was well-tolerated and generated a strong immune response in older adults.
On Sept. 30, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mnuchin held an "extensive conversation" on a huge COVID-19 rescue package."We found areas where we are seeking further clarification," Pelosi said in a statement."We made a lot of progress over the last few days. We still don’t have an agreement," Mnuchin said after meeting with Pelosi and briefing top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell.
On the final day of Sept., more than half of the states in the U.S. were reporting increased numbers of new coronavirus cases, as health officials continued to warn of a likely surge in cases in the fall and winter seasons.
In September’s final week, the number of new daily coronavirus cases had increased in 31 states compared to the week before. The percentage of new daily positive cases also increased in 27 states, according to data from John Hopkins.
U.S. Cases - 148,330,649
U.S. Deaths - 222,639
On Oct. 2, the White House announced that Trump was suffering "mild symptoms" of COVID-19.
Trump confirmed his diagnosis in a video post on Twitter and thanked everyone for their "tremendous support."
"I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out," Trump said. "The first lady is doing very well."
Later that day, Trump departed the White House to go to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for precautionary tests and evaluation for the coronavirus.
Trump's physician released a health update on the president.
"Following the PCR-confirmation of the president's diagnosis, as a precautionary measure, he received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail," the report read.
The memo stated that the remainder of the First Family tested negative for the coronavirus.
Trump was discharged from the hospital the following Monday.
In mid-October, Pfizer Inc. received permission to test its vaccine in the U.S. on children as young as 12, one of only a handful of attempts around the world to start exploring if any experimental shots being pushed for adults also can protect children.
On Oct. 22, the FDA approved Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. The drug was granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA in May.
"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead has worked relentlessly to help find solutions to this global health crisis," Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said in a statement. "It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. that is available for all appropriate patients in need."
On Oct. 28, Fauci said he didn’t anticipate a COVID-19 vaccine to be available in the U.S. until at least January 2021, if not later, due to several regulatory hurdles still ahead. Fauci explained that while there were currently five vaccine candidates in Phase 3 clinical trials — including Moderna and Pfizer, Inc. that were fully enrolled — they must first run until a predetermined number of "events" or infections with the virus have occurred.
On Oct. 31, the United States set a new record for COVID-19 cases in one day with 99,321 — more than any other day since the start of the pandemic.
The death toll on Oct. 31 exceeded 1,000, with 1,030 deaths recorded, bringing the total death count in the U.S. to more than 230,000, according to data collected by John Hopkins.
More than half of the states in the U.S. were reporting increased numbers of new coronavirus cases, as health officials continue to warn of a likely surge in cases in the fall and winter seasons.
U.S. Cases - 195,510,467
U.S. Deaths - 259,697
On Nov. 4, the nation topped 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, setting a new record for cases in a single day as the country awaited the outcome of the presidential race. The country reported 103,087 new daily virus infections, according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project.
Thousands of federal employees who developed COVID-19 while performing their duties became entitled to workers' compensation coverage under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
As of Nov. 16, the government agreed to pay injury compensation benefits to nearly 3,500 federal employees and granted death benefits to survivors of 14 employees, a Department of Labor spokesperson told FOX TV Stations.
On Nov. 18, U.S. regulators allowed emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that could be performed entirely at home and delivers results in 30 minutes.
The FDA granted emergency authorization to the single-use test kit from Lucira Health, a California manufacturer.
The company's test allows users to swab themselves to collect a nasal sample. The sample is then swirled in a vial of laboratory solution that plugs into a portable device. Results are displayed as lights labeled positive or negative.
On Nov. 20, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech formally submitted their request for emergency use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The companies claimed their data revealed the vaccine candidate as 95% effective and protected many older, high-risk patients from dying.
U.S. Cases - 248,766,249 (as of Dec. 30)
U.S. Deaths - 333,524 (as of Dec. 30)
On Dec. 11, the FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, launching an epic vaccination campaign in the U.S. against the outbreak.
On Dec. 15, U.S. officials authorized the rapid coronavirus test which can be done entirely at home. The announcement by the FDA represents another important — though incremental — step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options.
The Dec. 18, the FDA authorized Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, the second vaccine to be approved by U.S. regulators to prevent severe COVID-19 illness.
FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, called the approval "another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic."
Pence received a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18 on live television to build confidence among the American people about its safety and efficacy, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to do so.Pence's wife, Karen, and Adams also received the shots.
On Dec. 21, President-elect Joe Biden received his first round of the COVID-19 vaccine on live TV and urged Americans to get the shot as it becomes available to them, part of a growing effort to convince the public that the vaccines are safe.
The president-elect received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his Delaware home, hours after his wife, Jill Biden, did the same.
On Dec. 23, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they would supply the U.S. with an additional 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine under a second agreement. The drugmakers said that they expect to deliver all the doses by July 31.
Pfizer already has a contract to supply the government with 100 million doses of its vaccine, which requires two doses per patient.
On Dec. 29, the U.S. confirmed its first case of a new, likely more transmissible variant of the coronavirus first identified in the U.K. On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis reported that state health officials discovered the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in a man in his 20s.
"There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels," said Polis in a tweeted statement.
On Dec. 30, the mutant variant was also found in Southern California.
Hours after the new COVID-19 variant was detected, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed an executive order directing stricter enforcement of state and local public health rules.
Gloria said he had asked police and the city attorney to pursue fines "and potentially other enforcement actions" against those who are "blatantly and egregiously" defying health orders.
The Associated Press, FOX O&O stations and FOX TV digital team contributed to this story.