FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been 18 months since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in California, in January of last year.
Click here to view timeline in a new window
Two months later, fear, concern, and case rates had grown so rapidly, a state of emergency was declared, and life for almost everyone changed seemingly overnight.
School campuses closed and classes shifted to virtual learning.
The thought shifted to what that means for the athletes, specifically the college athletes who only have four short years of eligibility. Did the coronavirus really just take away one of those years?
So many questions and so much unknown, as everyone waded through similar situations, unsure of what life would look like, even the next day.
Then, Fresno County saw its first death, and our reality quickly worsened.
City officials began taking steps to ensure people wouldn't congregate, including removing equipment like tennis nets from parks.
Nursing homes in the Valley were reeling from the enormous spike in confirmed cases among residents and staff, showing how fast the virus could spread.
We saw progress, with Fresno Unified announcing that in-person classes will resume for thousands of students on August 17th... but then more setbacks came.
California reached two grim milestones, reporting its highest number of coronavirus cases in a single day - and surpassing New York state as having the most cases of COVID-19 in the nation.
The Central Valley found itself in the national spotlight when federal health officials identified the region as one of ten COVID-19 hot spots in the U.S.
"It stings a little bit to be called out at the national level. I do feel like maybe this will help us get more resources, that this is going to be a wake-up call," said Fresno County's public health officer Dr. Rais Vohra in response.
Governor Newsom issued a statewide order that required Californians to wear a mask in almost all public settings, including while at work.
So much uncertainty remained, as families tried to get back some sense of normalcy. But then the holiday season meant to celebrate family, friends, and togetherness, saw us sharing COVID too, with numbers skyrocketing back up.
Hospitalizations increased nearly 90% over a few weeks statewide.
Governor Gavin Newsom warned of another stay-at-home order as the state is in danger of running out of ICU beds.
But after that winter surge, hope was on the horizon - the COVID-19 vaccine arrived.
All our safety measures and vaccination efforts started paying off.
After more than a year on lockdown, Governor Newsom announced a plan to fully reopen California's economy if the drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued.
Students across the Central Valley started to return to campuses.
And on June 15, California took another step towards normalcy - toward gathering again, toward hugging and handshaking, and seeing each other smile again.
RELATED: Reopening California