2020 can be considered one of the most eventful years in history. So many different events occurred in the span of only twelve months. As the end of the year nears, here is a recap of the good and the bad of 2020.
Even in the midst of the terrible events that 2020 brought, silver linings happened throughout the year. To overcome the extreme boredom and isolation created by the coronavirus pandemic, new and exciting pop culture trends emerged. For example, in the beginning of the pandemic, the Netflix series Tiger King connected the country. The show became a social media sensation, prompting many Twitter interactions and leading to the creation of TikTok sounds. Countless musicians, such as Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, released new albums this year. Swift released Folklore in July and Evermore in December, while Grande released Positions in October. Other musicians who released albums include Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Miley Cyrus, Kid Cudi and Megan Thee Stallion. Adopting and fostering animals also became popular throughout the country due to more people staying home and having the time to care for a new pet. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals saw a 70% increase in rescue animals entering foster care compared to last year.
2020 also brought great scientific advancements. In May, SpaceX launched its first astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, into space. The spacecraft, known as the Endeavour, launched into orbit and reached the International Space Station, where the two astronauts stayed for 63 days. Moreover, over the course of this pandemic, scientists from all over the world and different companies such as Moderna and Pfizer worked tirelessly to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. Before the pandemic, the fastest vaccine ever developed took about four years. In less than a year, Pfizer developed a vaccine that got authorized for distribution. Soon after Pfizer, Moderna’s vaccine got approved by drug administrations, too. More than 1.9 million Americans have received the vaccine since its authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
Although marked by periods of political unrest and extreme partisanship, 2020 has seen its fair share of historical achievements in U.S. politics. In September, President Donald J. Trump secured a historical peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, known as the Abraham Accords. This historical treaty aims to establish peace and prosperity between the two countries and the Middle East in general. In November, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was elected President of the United States, making him the oldest person elected president and the first to defeat an incumbent president since Bill Clinton in 1992. Alongside him, California Senator Kamala Harris became the first woman, African-American and Asian-American elected vice president. Moreover, with the pandemic forcing many businesses to shut down, leaving many unemployed, Congress passed two relief stimulus packages to help Americans who have felt the economic repercussions of the pandemic. In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act gave individual Americans $1,200 stimulus checks. Recently, on Dec. 21, Congress reached another deal for a $900 billion relief package known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The relief package gives Americans an additional $600 stimulus check.
2020 has included some of the most challenging obstacles and upsetting events one can experience. The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly brought the biggest challenges. In Dec. 2019, the first cases of coronavirus were recorded in Wuhan, China. On Mar. 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the U.S. From this point on, businesses closed, social distancing and isolation started and basically everything changed. Celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Idris Elba and Andy Cohen were among the first celebrities to announce that they had tested positive for the virus. With the closing of businesses came record-high levels of unemployment — 14.7% — while social distancing and isolation brought a rise in mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Holidays, birthdays, major life events and vacations looked extremely different this year. Worldwide, over 78 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus, while over 1.7 million have died. In the United States alone, over 18 million have tested positive, while over 330,000 have died.
This year also saw the deaths of celebrities and historical figures. On Jan. 26, legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and six other passengers died in a helicopter crash. His unexpected death sparked memorials all over the world and condolences from several celebrities. In July, Glee actress Naya Rivera died after drowning in Lake Piru, California. The autopsy report revealed that she had mustered enough energy to save her 4-year-old son. In the same month, major civil rights activist John Lewis died after a six-month battle with stage four pancreatic cancer. Lewis lied in state at the U.S Capitol Rotunda for two days and his funeral took place in Atlanta, Georgia with many political figures attending. In August, Chadwick Boseman died from stage four colon cancer, sparking confusion and surprise from the public; although diagnosed in 2016, Boseman never revealed or discussed his battle. In September, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 after a long battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer. After her death, thousands gathered outside of the Supreme Court to honor her and her accomplishments in the Supreme Court. Other popular figures that died this year include Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek, actor Sean Connery and many others.
Extreme environmental disasters also defined 2020. Throughout the year, a series of wildfires burned across the state of California. As of December, over 4.3 million acres in the state had burned, making 2020 the largest wildfire season in modern California’s history. In Northern California, the extreme drought caused much of the fires, while the late wet season in Southern and Central California caused the fires there. Similarly, in Australia, a period of intense bushfires scorched over 46 million acres of land in March. These fires destroyed nearly three billion animals’ habitats. Some of the animals affected include kangaroos, frogs and koalas. Besides wildfires, hurricanes and tropical storms also impacted different areas of the world. The hurricane season began in June and, by September, the the World Meteorological Organization had exhausted its list of hurricane names. The WMO resorted to using the Greek alphabet for the first time since 2005 and the second time in history. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season consisted of 31 subtropical cyclones, with 30 named storms and 13 becoming hurricanes. Of these 30 storms, 12 made landfall in the United States, breaking the 1916 record of six storms.