A coronavirus timeline: How we got here
July 29, 2020
Dec. 31 – Chinese health officials inform the World Health Organization about 41 patients with a “mysterious pneumonia.”
Jan. 11 – China state media reports its first death from the virus.
Jan. 20 – The CDC confirms its first case of the coronavirus in the United States. The patient, a 35-year-old man from Snohomish County, Washington, recently returned from a trip to Wuhan, China.
Jan. 29 – Land Line Now reports that diesel prices continue to drop as fears over the coronavirus outbreak lead to falling oil prices.
Jan. 30 – The World Health Organization declares a global health emergency.
Jan. 31 – President Donald Trump suspends entry into the United States by any foreign nationals who has traveled to China in the past 14 days, excluding the immediate family members of American citizens or permanent residents.
Feb. 2 – A 44-year-old man from the Philippines reportedly dies from the coronavirus. It is the first reported death from the virus outside of China.
Feb. 5 – The coronavirus continues to be blamed for dropping oil prices.
Feb. 8 – A U.S. citizen dies in China to become the first American casualty to the virus.
Feb. 11 – The World Health Organization announces the disease would be called COVID-19.
Feb. 12 – Oil prices drop for the fifth consecutive week.
Feb. 14 – The first death from the coronavirus is reported in Europe after an 80-year-old Chinese tourist died at a hospital in Paris.
Feb. 24 – The Trump administration asks Congress for $1.25 billion to prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak.
Feb. 25 – Doug Morris, OOIDA’s director of safety and security operations, tells Land Line Now’s Mark Reddig that the coronavirus could eventually be labeled a pandemic. Morris says the outbreak is already affecting freight rates.
Feb. 26 – Diesel prices drop for a seventh consecutive week. Oil prices are selling for about $50 a barrel.
Feb. 28 – A patient in Seattle becomes the first person to die from the coronavirus in the United States.
March 2 – Organizers of the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., say they are taking steps to protect the health of its attendees by implementing additional cleaning protocols for the event scheduled for March 26-28.
March 3 – The CDC lifts federal restrictions on testing for the coronavirus, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced. The United States reports about 100 cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths.
March 11 – The World Health Order declares the coronavirus a pandemic. President Trump bans all travel from Europe. The NCAA announces that its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would be played with no fans. Organizers of the Truck World exposition in Canada announce that its show slated for April will be postponed until June. MATS organizers send a newsletter to exhibitors saying that the show would go on. The NBA announces it was suspending its season indefinitely after a player is confirmed to have the virus.
March 12 – Less than 24 hours after saying MATS would still go on as scheduled, the show’s organizers announce that the 2020 event was canceled amid health concerns. The number of coronavirus cases in the United States reaches 1,300, resulting in 39 deaths. The NCAA announces it is canceling its basketball tournaments. Major League Baseball announces it is delaying the start of its 2020 season. Land Line reports that some shippers and receivers were changing its check-in procedures because of the coronavirus.
March 13 – President Trump declares a national emergency. FMCSA announces an emergency declaration, providing hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency supplies. The cancellations begin to affect event haulers. Steve Mesh, an OOIDA senior member from Vermont, tells Land Line that he had to begin hauling general freight after the band he was driving for postponed its tour.
March 15 – CDC recommends no gatherings of 50 or more people in the U.S.
March 16 – Land Line publishes a page on its website for truck drivers to learn about all of the federal and state declarations that would affect their trucking business. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announces that as of March 17 it would be closing its 30 rest areas and welcome centers to the public. The three major truck stop chains issue statements saying they were remaining open while taking steps toward preventing the spread of the virus.
March 17 – France imposes a nationwide lockdown. OOIDA sends a letter to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and other transportation leaders in an attempt to get Pennsylvania to reopen its rest areas for truck drivers. The American Logistics Aid Network sends a request to thousands of U.S. businesses in response to reports that shippers and receivers are refusing to let truck drivers use their restrooms.
March 18 – FMCSA expands its national emergency declaration for hours-of-service relief. President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announce a temporary border closure, but both leaders say it will not affect trade between the two countries. In response to criticism from OOIDA, Pennsylvania announces it would reopen 13 of its 30 rest areas.
March 19 – OOIDA tells the Pennsylvania DOT that reopening 13 of the 30 rest areas wasn’t good enough and says the Association will continue to push until all of the rest areas were open for truck drivers.
March 20 – OOIDA writes a letter to President Trump asking for action to be taken to help the nation’s truck drivers. The actions involve addressing issues related to parking, hours of service, enforcement, compliance and the “basic decency” of providing truckers a place to use the restroom. In another letter, OOIDA tells the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association that truck drivers need places to eat. UrgentCareTravel, a medical clinic network located at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers, announces it is launching a telemedicine-based coronavirus evaluation service for truck drivers.
March 21 – The White House announces that American companies, including General Motors, were working to make such necessary supplies as surgical masks and ventilators. FMCSA releases a notice of enforcement discretion determination, which says the agency would not enforce Temporary Operating Authority Registration fees for motor carriers. Illinois and New Jersey join California and New York as the first four states with stay-at-home executive orders.
March 22 – According to a DAT report, truckload rates surge as supply chains are affected by the pandemic.
March 23 – The U.S. DOT releases updated guidance for drug and alcohol testing. McDonald’s and other restaurant chains announce steps to provide meals to truck drivers. President Trump signs an executive order to prevent hoarding. Trump also specifically thanks truck drivers during a news conference.
March 24 – The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are postponed until 2021. FMCSA announces it granted a waiver for expiring CDLs and medical cards. ATRI releases data indicating that truck drivers were witnessing a significant drop in traffic congestion due to a decrease of vehicles on the highways. PennDOT announces it is opening 10 more rest areas to bring the total to 23.
March 25 – FMCSA provides additional guidance regarding drug and alcohol testing requirements for commercial drivers. FHWA urges state transportation officials to keep rest areas open. The CVSA postpones its inspection blitz after receiving a letter from OOIDA and the Transportation Intermediaries Association.
March 26 – The number of confirmed cases in the United States reaches more than 82,400. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. increases by more than 81,000 in about two weeks. Truck World announces its show in Toronto will be postponed again, this time until September.
March 27 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes a $2 trillion emergency relief package. The deadline for Real ID is pushed back a year until Oct. 1, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announces. Pennsylvania announces it will reopen five more of its rest areas, bringing the total to 28 of 30. Worldwide, the number of deaths related to COVID-19 reaches 25,251.
March 30 – Diesel prices fall for the 12th consecutive week.
March 31 – OOIDA provides its members information on how to apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Disaster Loan program, as well as other assistance programs. The mayor of Laredo, Texas, signs an emergency order mandating that all individuals over the age of 5, including truck drivers, cover their nose and mouth when in public.
April 1 – Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., pushes for investment in infrastructure as the next phase in coronavirus relief for the United States. A group of U.S. Senators request for USMCA to be delayed because of COVID-19.
April 3 – The Transportation Security Administration announces a temporary exemption from the renewal of hazmat endorsements for commercial drivers. OOIDA sends a letter to President Trump, asking for the nation to create a plan to keep truck drivers safe through the crisis. The Federal Highway Administration gives states permission to allow food trucks in rest areas to serve truck drivers.
April 4 – President Trump says his administration will use every possible resource to end the war on COVID-19 and open the country again.
April 5 – President Trump announces that FEMA has delivered 300 million gloves, 8 million masks and 3 million gowns to hospitals across the nation.
April 6 – OOIDA sends a letter to congressional leaders, asking them to address issues that will affect truck drivers long after the COVID-19 national emergency is over. The Washington Post reports that the number of deaths in the United States related to COVID-19 surpasses 10,000, while the number of confirmed cases reaches about 340,000.
April 8 – FMCSA extends its emergency declaration that provides relief from hours-of-service regulations until May 15. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed an executive order requiring adults entering the state to complete a travel declaration form. OOIDA gives a thumbs up to the FHWA for allowing the use of food trucks at rest areas and criticizes Natso for attempting to stop states from doing so.
April 9 – FMCSA grants a waiver allowing states to use a third-party CDL knowledge test examiners while state driver licensing agencies are closed. OOIDA sends a letter to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert expressing concern over the travel declaration and having truck drivers included.
April 10 – The Utah governor signs an amendment to his executive order that exempts several types of workers, including truck drivers.
April 11 – Saturday Night Live returns to television with the cast submitting clips from their homes. Tom Hanks, who previously recovered from the coronavirus, hosts.
April 12 – As millions of Americans had to watch Easter church services from their homes, President Trump in a recorded video says the United States is winning the battle against the “plague” of the coronavirus and that Americans will soon be able to return to their churches.
April 13 – The coronavirus death toll in the United States reaches 22,000 with more than 554,000 total cases, according to NBC. Worldwide, NBC reports 1.9 million cases and 114,000 deaths.
April 14 – OOIDA sends a letter to members of the grocery industry asking for assistance to help keep truck drivers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, OOIDA said that truck drivers have been unable to access essential goods to help keep them safe even though they’re hauling those goods. Utah abandons text message alerts for travel declarations. TSA grants a temporary exemption for expiring TWIC cards.
April 15 – In an update to its members, OOIDA was critical of the White House’s omission of small-business truckers from President Trump’s Great American Economic Revival Industry groups, which is a collection of businesses and industry associations who will work with the White House to help the nation emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
April 16 – President Trump recognized four truck drivers, including an OOIDA senior member, during a celebration of America’s truckers on the White House lawn.
April 17 – Land Line’s Wendy Parker shares the story of two OOIDA members coping with the pandemic. Ron (Christopher) Drew tested positive for COVID-19, while his wife, Chante, was waiting for test results.
April 20 – The latest figures show nearly 770,000 COVID-19 cases in the United States with more than 41,000 resulting in death. Worldwide, there has been more than 2.4 million cases and more than 167,000 deaths reported.
April 21 – OOIDA member Steve Allington tells Land Line’s Wendy Parker that the pandemic forced him to change his business model from over-the-road to short haul.
April 22 – Doug Morris, OOIDA’s director of safety and security, confirms with Land Line that about 800,000 masks would be distributed free to truck drivers at rest areas across the nation.
April 23 – The NFL draft kicks off in a virtual format instead of being held in Las Vegas. The three-day event draws a record 55 million viewers and raised $6.6 million for COVID-19 relief.
April 24 – Congress approves a $484 billion relief bill to replenish funding for programs aimed at helping small businesses.
April 28 – OOIDA Board Member Rodney Morine goes on CNBC to let the public know that many truckers are struggling and could go bankrupt without assistance.
April 29 – FMCSA updates its distribution list for protective masks. The agency increases the number of masks to be given to truckers to 1 million. Organizers of the Great American Trucking Show announce that the 2020 show in Dallas has been canceled.
May 1 – OOIDA sends an informational bulletin to its 160,000 members, telling them to beware of unscrupulous brokers and to encourage them to say no to cheap freight. States begin to reopen as stay-at-home orders start to expire.
May 2 – OOIDA holds its spring board of directors meeting in a virtual format because of the pandemic. OOIDA President Todd Spencer told the board members, “Right now, it’s more important than ever, that we remain committed to the fight for the rights of all truckers.”
May 3 – Truckers in Washington, D.C., protesting the lack of transparency in broker transactions get the attention of President Donald Trump as he posts “I’m with the truckers all the way.”
May 6 – OOIDA sends a letter to members of Congress, pushing for full transparency in broker transactions. The Department of Homeland Security launches a route planning tool to help truckers during the pandemic.
May 8 – The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment report for April shows the largest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.
May 12 – OOIDA tells leaders of the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration that truck weight exemptions allowed because of the pandemic need to end. An OOIDA Call to Action urges drivers to request documents from brokers.
May 13 – FMCSA extends its emergency declaration that provides relief from hours-of-service regulations until June 14. In a letter to Congress, OOIDA outlines measures lawmakers can take to provide truckers relief during the pandemic.
May 15 – Organizers of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in Iowa announce that its 2020 show will be held virtually.
May 17 – NASCAR holds its first race in two months. More than 6 million viewers tune in to watch as Kevin Harvick wins the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The final episode of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls is broadcast. With little live sports available, the 10-part documentary averaged 5.6 million viewers over its five-week run.
May 19 – The latest statistics show more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 92,000 deaths since the pandemic began. Worldwide, there have been more than 4.95 million cases resulting in more than 320,000 deaths.
May 20 – OOIDA members Ron and Chante Drew, who were featured in the June edition of Land Line Magazine, share their COVID-19 experience with “PBS News Hour.” FMCSA unveils a guidance document that allows compliance reviews to be conducted remotely during the pandemic.
May 26 – Major League Baseball unveils its economic proposal to have a 2020 season to the players’ union. The plan, which called for a significant in player salaries, “drew the ire” of the union, ESPN reported. Missouri health officials urge those who visited the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri over Memorial Day weekend to self quarantine after videos of large gatherings went viral.
May 28 – The American Truck Historical Society holds its national convention and truck show in a virtual format. The show was suppose to be in Springfield, Ill., but the virtual format received a record 1,455 entries from 10 countries. The U.S. Department of Transportation announces a plan to distribute 15.5 million facial coverings to transportation workers. Organizers announce its decision to cancel the 2020 Boston Marathon. The historic race has previously been postponed from April 20 until Sept. 14.
May 29 – Bloomberg reports that a farm in Tennessee distributed COVID-19 tests to all of its workers after an employee was diagnosed with the virus and that all 200 of the employees tested positive. The Wall Street Journal reports that the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients has become a hot commodity, selling for about $1,000 per milliliter. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reaches 1.77 million with the number of deaths at more than 104,000. Worldwide, there have 5.87 million confirmed cases and 362,000 deaths.
May 30 – Leaders of the European Union asks President Trump to rethink his reported plans to remove the United States from the World Health Organization.
June 2 – President Trump posts on Twitter that the Republic National Convention would likely be moved to another state as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and his representatives “refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena.”
June 3 – A bill that intends to add flexibility to the Paycheck Protection Program passes the Senate. Two days later, President Trump signs the bill into law.
June 5 – The FMCSA grants a three-month waiver from certain pre-employment testing requirements for recently furloughed or laid off drivers. The waiver ends Sept. 30.
June 8 – The National Bureau of Economic Research officially declares that the United States entered a recession in February.
June 9 – FMCSA extends its emergency declaration until July 14. The declaration provides relief from hours-of-service regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. This version removed some of the loads that previously qualified.
June 11 – Land Line reports that in April the Freight Transportation Services Index suffered its largest drop since the Great Recession.
June 12 – An FMCSA spokesman confirms that about 2.1 million masks were being mailed to motor carriers in June. Anil Gharmalkar, a trucker from Kansas, shares the story about his battle with COVID-19 to Land Line. The New York Times reports that Florida and Texas have confirmed a record high number of daily cases. Forecasts indicated that the number of overall COVID-19 deaths in the United States could reach as high as 140,000 by July 4.
June 15 – While the official count of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths reaches 116,000, NBC News reports that inconsistencies in state policies and other factors make the actual total an “elusive” number.
June 21 – The CBS news show “Sunday Morning” is broadcast with a segment featuring Ted Koppel interviewing OOIDA Board Member Rodney Morine about the difficulties truckers have faced during the economic downturn.
June 25 – FMCSA announces that its waiver for states regarding third-party CDL skills test examiners was extended for three months. The waiver, which was first issued in April, was scheduled to expire on June 30. The waiver now goes until Sept. 30.
June 29 – The U.S. average diesel price goes up a half cent from one week ago to $2.43 per gallon, according to a weekly federal report.
June 30 – A record 48,000 coronavirus cases are announced across the United States. Officials in eight states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas — announce single-day highs, The New York Times reports.
July 1 – After being delayed because of the pandemic, UCR enforcement goes into effect.
July 4 – Many Fourth of July celebrations across the nation were canceled because of the pandemic.
July 5 – A report released by the Small Business Administration says 3,205 long-haul trucking companies received at least $150,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans.
July 7 – FMCSA said it plans to exercise discretion when determining whether to enforce the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug and alcohol testing among motor carriers.
July 8 – The House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development approves its fiscal year 2021 bill. The THUD legislation provides $158.3 billion in base budgetary resources, as well as $75 billion to support the economy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, by investing in transportation and housing infrastructure. Ontario’s provincial government launches a pilot program to make it easier for truck drivers to access COVID-19 testing.
July 10 – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 3.1 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, leading to 132,855 deaths.
July 13 – Organizers of the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo., announce that the show will be postponed until 2021. OOIDA begins distributing thousands of free masks to truck drivers. FMCSA extends its emergency declaration regarding hours of service until Aug. 14.
July 17 – Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is cautiously optimistic that a vaccine for the coronavirus could be ready by the end of the year.
July 18 – Major League Baseball resumes spring training games. The league’s abbreviated regular season is set to begin July 23.
July 20 – Minnesota Public Radio reports that a 9-month-old died from the coronavirus.
July 21 – Love’s Travel Stops announces that beginning July 29 that it will begin requiring customers to wear a face mask while inside its stores.
July 23 – America’s pastime returns as the New York Yankees defeat the Washington Nationals 4-1, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the San Francisco Giants 8-1.
July 24 – The Transportation Security Administration extends an exemption from the renewal of hazardous material endorsements. TSA previously granted an exemption in April that was set to expire. The new exemption will expire Oct. 29.
July 28 – Pilot and Flying J begins requiring its customers to wear face masks at its stores. Major League Baseball suspends the Miami Marlins’ season through Sunday, Aug. 2, after 15 players reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus.
July 29 – Love’s mask mandate begins. According to a report from CNN, Russia officials intend to approve a coronavirus virus vaccine in less than two weeks.