Now that 2020 has finally come to an end, it’s easy to forget just what all happened during last year’s “unprecedented times.” Here’s a wrap-up of some of the major events of 2020, both in South Dakota and worldwide.
Jan. 3: Iranian General Quasem Soleimani is killed by an American airstrike, sparking rumors of a “World War III.”
Jan. 22: China locks down the city of Wuhan to try and contain the spread of COVID-19. At the time, the city had 500 infected citizens and 17 dead.
Jan. 26: Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna are killed in a helicopter accident, along with the pilot and other six passengers.
Jan. 28: House Bill 1057, which would criminalize prescribing certain gender-transition procedures and medications to patients younger than 16 years old, begins making its way through the South Dakota legislature.
Feb. 5: President Trump is acquitted of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress by the Senate following a nearly month-long impeachment process.
Feb. 6: The first COVID-19-related death occurs in the United States. This would not be confirmed by the CDC until mid-April.
Feb. 23: The first major outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe occurs in Italy with 152 cases and three deaths.
March 11: The first five cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in South Dakota and includes one possible death.
March 12: South Dakota Board of Regent schools extend Spring Break until March 23 due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
March 13: Breonna Taylor, a Kentucky ER technician, is shot and killed by police officers in her apartment after executing a no-knock warrant for her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.
March 24: SDBOR announces that classes will be held online for the remainder of the semester.
April 2: The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passes 1 million.
April 9: Sioux Falls meat-processing plant Smithfield Foods Inc., shuts down for three days after an outbreak of 80 positive cases among its employees. This was later increased to 14 days.
April 24: Some South Dakota tribal reservations establish travel bans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout their communities.
April 28: Cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. pass 1 million.
May 1: Armed protesters gather at the Michigan capitol building after the governor reinstates stay-at-home orders.
May 21: Cases of COVID-19 worldwide pass 5 million.
May 25: A video of George Floyd being restrained and subsequently killed by a Minneapolis police officer goes viral, sparking nationwide protests.
May 31: A protest march occurs in Sioux Falls for Floyd. Riots were later started near the Sioux Empire Mall, resulting in Gov. Noem declaring a brief state of emergency.
June 7: Black Lives Matter protests continue worldwide.
June 15: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act also protects LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination.
June 18: The U.S. Supreme Court votes to sustain the Dreamers Program (DACA), allowing children of undocumented workers/refugees the ability to live and work in the country without being deported.
June 29: Cases of COVID-19 worldwide pass 10 million.
July 3: President Trump visits Mount Rushmore for its 4th of July celebration and fireworks.
July 23: President Trump threatens to send 75,000 federal agents to deal with protests in cities like Portland, Oregon.
July 27: U.S. Congressman John Lewis is the first black lawmaker to lie in state.
July 27: Pfizer and Moderna begin the last phase of testing on possible COVID-19 vaccines.
Aug. 6: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally begins, lasting until Aug. 15. A surge of COVID-19 cases in the state follows.
Aug. 9: Cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. pass 5 million.
Aug. 10: Cases of COVID-19 worldwide pass 20 million.
Aug. 11: Former Vice President Joe Biden announces Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Sept. 5: A gender reveal gone wrong accidentally starts a wildfire near Los Angeles that eventually consumes thousands of acres.
Sept. 8: Brookings becomes the first town in South Dakota to mandate masks.
Sept. 18: Cases of COVID-19 worldwide pass 30 million.
Sept. 18: Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies after complications from pancreatic cancer. She becomes the first woman to lie in state.
Sept. 28: The global COVID-19 death toll passes 1 million.
Oct. 2: President Trump reveals he and First Lady Melania have tested positive for COVID-19.
Oct. 18: Cases of COVID-19 worldwide pass 40 million.
Oct. 27: The U.S. Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, cementing a conservative majority.
Oct. 31: SDSU Jackrabbits play the Hobo Day game against themselves in a practice scrimmage. This is the first Hobo Day since WWII where no parade took place.
Nov. 7: Biden is officially declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election four days after Election Day.
Nov. 8: Cases of COVID-19 worldwide pass 50 million.
Nov. 9: Cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. pass 10 million.
Dec. 2: U.S. Attorney General William Barr says no evidence of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election has been found.
Dec. 11: The U.S. FDA authorizes the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use.
Dec. 14: The U.S. begins distributing its first Pfizer/BioNTech vaccinations.
Dec. 15: South Dakota receives the first COVID-19 vaccinations to be used in the state.
Dec. 18: Moderna vaccine authorized for emergency use by U.S. FDA.
Dec. 21: The U.S. begins distributing Moderna vaccinations.
With the new year, comes new historic moments, celebrations and the opportunity for a fresh start. 2020 was a weird year and challenging for all. Here’s to 2021, the bar is pretty low.