2020: A year of chaos in review

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Photo by: Xinhua News Agency

Costco members wait in long lines to enter the store. Signs outside the entrance listed out-of-stock items, with toilet paper and hand sanitizer often at the top of the list.

On New Year’s Eve, 2019, over one million people gathered together with friends and family in Times Square to commemorate the blissful start of a new decade and the good luck it predicted.

Millions celebrate the end of 2019 with hugs and kisses, welcoming in a new generation of possibilities. (photo via Countdown Entertainment)

2020 was rumored to be a beacon of hope for everyone, or so most people thought.  2020 quickly became a downward spiral rollercoaster of emotions for billions, and it all started in January with a bat carrying COVID-19.  Originating back in late December, from Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China, a man contracted a mysterious virus, which scientists would later call Coronavirus.  It went over the heads of many Americans, as it didn’t relate to the current impeachment trials or the ever-deteriorating royal family.  The pandemic would soon become an ordeal so large that no politician would know how to handle it.

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JANUARY

At the time, COVID-19 (Corona ‘CO’ virus ‘VI’ disease ‘D’ from 2019) was not commonly heard of and was on the back burner of people’s minds.  “January was still kind of normal, but the COVID was on my mind every once in a while,” sophomore David Ramirez said.  One of the main talking points from January was the Australian wildfires that had consumed over 12 million acres of wildlife, homes and workplaces.  Many were shocked at the horrific damage caused and the animals that were affected.

Catastrophic wildfires scorch 12 million miles of Australia’s wildlife. (Photo by: Saeed Khan)

Over in Europe, Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle took a step down from the spotlight, which confused the royal family and shocked the royal nation.  The general word “shock” would soon become an understatement after March.  On January 26, nine passengers aboard a helicopter in California suffered a fatal crash resulting in the death of beloved basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.  Fans all over the United States were devastated by the horrific news.  On the final days of January, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an official pandemic, creating confusion throughout the world.

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FEBRUARY

The world entered February strong, as the Kansas City Chiefs claimed their victory in the 2020 Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, marking one of the last crowning achievements for 2020 sports. 

President Donald Trump relays his State of the Union Address to the American people. (Photo by: Mandel Ngan)

On February 2, Congress gathered together at the Capitol, where President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union Address.  Further controversy followed when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of the President’s speech on live television.  “COVID cases started rising, but life was still normal.  It was really sad when Kobe died because he was a basketball legend,” senior Emily Peterson said. As the number of positive cases slowly increased over the world, disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci took charge, supplying his knowledge about the newly discovered virus.

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MARCH

The most notable turning point of 2020 was March when the whole nation was ordered into quarantine and stay-at-home orders were enforced. 

Costco members wait in long lines to enter the store. Signs outside the entrance listed out-of-stock items, with toilet paper and hand sanitizer often at the top of the list. (Photo via Xinhua News Agency)

Setting the trend for lockdowns, Italy placed itself onto a nationwide lockdown in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.  Not long after, the United States followed suit and went into lockdown after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.  Students throughout Chesterfield County experienced a surreal last day of school on March 13.  “When school was out, I was upset at first, but after a while it got normal.  Everything getting suspended only made me feel worse because it felt like it was never getting better,” freshman Gabby Ross said.  For senior Rachel Anderson, March was a month she’ll never forget. “It seemed as if every event or change in how we lived our everyday lives went twice as fast.  March figuratively pulled the rug out from under the U.S. citizens and made everything that much more confusing and upsetting,” Anderson said.

As cancellations of plans began to skyrocket and businesses all over the country sold out of toilet paper, citizens began to hunker down in their homes.

Normally crushed with thousands of tourists, Washington DC’s National Mall sits quiet and empty due to official stay-at-home orders. (Photo by Win McNamee)

Football, baseball, basketball, and other major national sports teams were forced to suspend their seasons, leaving sports fans in shock.  During a time of ultimate boredom, many flocked to Netflix to binge the new hit series, Tiger King.  The pandemic created a major influx of job losses all throughout the world, with the United States Labor Department announcing that over 3 million Americans applied for unemployment.  As tension throughout the country continues, Breonna Taylor, an African American 26-year-old, is shot and killed in a police raid on her home. 

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APRIL

At first glance, April didn’t have much going on, as most of the world was put on hold while everyone was quarantined.  On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) started to recommend the use of a face mask while in public areas. 

Lansing, Michigan faces protesters among the pandemic lockdown, creating a chain reaction for future protests. (Photo by Karen Ducey)

 “April was one of the harder months of 2020 for me because everything was shut down and the world felt like it was tearing apart,” said freshman Adam Burke. A glimpse of hope soon spreads across American as the IRS started the dispersion of stimulus checks, giving government money to unemployed workers.  As citizens grew impatient from quarantining, some took to the streets to protest the stay-at-home order in Lansing, Michigan. Michigan’s state Capitol building was soon overrun. 

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MAY

Murder hornets also became a low-level threat in some parts of the country as the creatures infiltrated North America.

 George Floyd was killed on May 25, after a deadly police encounter in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Video footage of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck went viral, resulting in several local protests.

Protesters around the country rally together in hopes to bring awareness to police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor. (Photo by: Maddie Meyer)

The message quickly spread over social media and large protests broke out all over the country.  In an effort to pursue justice for Floyd, protesters took to the streets and demanded a defunding of the police department.  Some protests turned violent rather quickly, as buildings were burned, shops were looted, and police officers were abused.  The United States was soon facing one of the worst nationwide protests, which burned like wildfire throughout several cities (not to be confused with the Australian wildfires).

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JUNE

Nationwide protests furthered as a social movement known as Black Lives Matter (BLM), which aimed at spreading messages of racial equality across the United States.

A confederate statue in Richmond is decorated with protester’s graffiti and posters in remembrance of George Floyd. (Photo by: Zach Gibson)

The movement recognized the black population who had been killed by the police, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Richmond, Virginia faced over 90 consecutive nights of protests, which led to the vandalism of historical monuments, including the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues on Monument Avenue.  The protests were peaceful until looters and other violent groups got involved, leading to the closure of many small businesses and other shops in the Richmond area.  Black Lives Matter sent messages of equality and justice for those lost to police brutality.  In doing so, supporters of the movement flocked to the White House, near 16th Street, where giant yellow letters spelled out Black Lives Matter on the pavement.  

Along his campaign trail, President Donald Trump hosted dozens of in-person rallies, hoping to further his support for the upcoming election.  While Trump’s rallies often drew thousands, on June 5, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, President Trump had a disappointing turnout. It seems teenagers on Tik Tok had seized his rally by purchasing hundreds of tickets with no intention of attending. The turnout was ghastly, leaving the whole top half of the stadium empty.

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JULY

The “American Melting Pot” had begun to boil and anger began to seep out from the sides, sizzling into the flames below. 

Protesters in Seattle barricade themselves into Capitol Hill, claiming the land for themselves. (Photo by: David Ryder)

Downtown Seattle, Washington had turned into an unorthodox dystopia surrounded by hefty fortifications. Protesters from across the country came to Seattle, where they established themselves as an autonomous group of people, calling themselves CHAZ (Capital Hill Autonomous Zone).  Starting back in June, Seattle’s Capitol Hill had been overrun with protesters who were squatting in the city for over a month.  Chaz eventually fell to its knees, as it became too dangerous and had police interference, ending the dystopian civilization on July 8.  

Major League Baseball announced that they would be able to hold their season using a quarantine-like system known as The Bubble. This was good news for sports fans everywhere since sports at every level had been canceled since March.

With November just around the corner, American citizens began to grow anxious about voting in-person for the upcoming presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.  With the fear of COVID paramount in their minds, many voters wanted to be able to vote by mail, which raised fears of voting fraud.  To the growing fears of fraudulent ballots, President Trump suggested delaying the election, hoping to deter the fraud.  As nerves started to take over, with Americans suffering from Election Stress Disorder, some, like the family of freshman Gabriella Knoll, ventured on vacation. “In July, I went to the beach and it was so different. Everyone was wearing masks and social distancing, which I guess was normal at the time, but it felt weird at the beach. I wasn’t able to meet a whole bunch of people, but I had a lot of fun with the people I went with,”  Knoll said.

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AUGUST

During August, America exploded into a million different pieces, as protesters took to the streets in search of justice for another death from police brutality.

Fires burn throughout Kenosha, Wisconsin, in protest to the death of Jacob Blake (Photo by: Brandon Bell)

Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was killed, infuriating the people of that city.  Not only were the forests on fire, but now the cities were.  Kenosha was a living definition of dystopia, as entire buildings were breathing fire and looters saw the opportunity to smash windows and rob businesses.  “August was a surreal month for me because, at that point, the list of tragedies from the year felt so long,” sophomore Anna Gardner said. She added that “2020 [was] a huge eye-opener for a lot of people to the injustices of our world.  All the restrictions because of the pandemic have also taught me not to take things for granted..

Presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California on August 11.  This historic choice made Harris the first woman of color on a Presidential ballot.  Days later, California was faced with fierce, deadly forest fires that broke record heat temperatures. California also celebrated the sentencing of 74-year-old Joseph DeAngelo, also known as the Golden State Killer, on August 18.  A somber week soon followed as Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman passed away after losing his battle to colon cancer, breaking the hearts of millions of Americans. 

Junior Kennedy Brooks said that during August, she got in tune with her creative side. “I was painting and decorating everything I could, but I was also closely following Black Lives Matter protests on social media, as well as Chadwick Bozeman’s death.” New to high school, freshman Leah Brooks spent her August settling into her new home.  “My family and I moved into a new house, so most of the month was spent moving, unpacking, and renovating. My birthday is in August, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, my family and I just went to Virginia Beach for the day,” Brooks said.

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SEPTEMBER

Starting off September, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from cancer, resulting in a powerful turnout of mourners at the Supreme Court building. 

The 2020 Presidential Debate between President Trump and Vice President Biden turned into a fiery duel. (Photo by: Jim Watson)

Ginsburg was remembered for her acts as an activist for gender equality.  With the election just around the corner, President Trump rushed to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, later announcing that Amy Coney Barrett would be the next Supreme Court Justice.  Days later, the American people watched intently as the two candidates bickered back and forth at the first Presidential Debate, resulting in several fiery responses.  The debate, moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, became the talk of the month.

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OCTOBER

October 1 marked breaking news for Americans, as President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, contracted the Coronavirus. 

President Donald Trump returns to the White House after medical treatment at Walter Reed. (Photo by: Win McNamee )

The nation sat in silence as Trump was transported to Walter Reed Medical Center, waiting for President Trump to receive COVID treatment.  After three days of intensive care, and later testing negative for COVID, the President resumed his duties.  Days later, rock superstar, Eddie Van Halen passed away at 65, after an extended battle with cancer.  As rock fans mourned Van Halen, Amy Coney Barrett was officially confirmed onto the Supreme Court.  Remembering back to 2020, Junior Gabrielle Salamone said, “I definitely felt less connected to friends and family, and had to be more creative when finding activities to do. The whole year had a bad feeling to it with all the events happening.”

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NOVEMBER

Election anxiety nearly doubled as Americans entered the election week.  Numerous first-time voters and other voters chose to head to the polls early, ensuring their vote for the next President would be counted.

President-elect Joe Biden and running mate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stand proud after winning the 2020 election (Photo by: Getty Images)

As the polls came to a close on November 3, the nation watched an intense unfolding of The Presidential Election to see who would take the victory.  Slowly, Election Day turned into Election Week, but eventually the votes were counted.  According to the Electoral College, Joe Biden was able to secure enough votes to win the Presidency, and he will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021, as the 46th president of the United States.  Trump fans across the nation were puzzled by the results and blamed it on possible voter fraud, which had been foreseen by the President.

Following the election, beloved father and Jeopardy host Alex Trebek passed away from pancreatic cancer at 80 years old. 

90-year-old Margaret Keenan proudly takes the first COVID vaccine distributed by Pfizer. (Photo by: Jacob King)

The American people, stunned by the tumultuous election and heartbroken after the celebrity deaths over the past few months, finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel as pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna announced that they had an effective vaccine for COVID-19.  The struggles of 2020 created growth opportunities for everyone. Junior Matthew Babb admitted that while his  “2020 experience was pretty bad, lots of us grew this year and came together for movements such as Black Lives Matter.” On the bright side, November was “definitely one of my highlights of the year because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election.  Even though Biden wasn’t my first option, I’ll have to settle for him,” Babb said.

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DECEMBER

Starting as early as the day after Halloween, the American people rushed to set up their Christmas decorations in hopes of making the New Year come faster.

Usually filled with laughter and holiday cheer, Time Square sits barren, waiting for tourists to return in the New Year. (Photo by: David Delgado)

The time had come when Americans could finally see the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel, and many started to run towards it. “I’m glad the year is over. 2020 was overwhelming, but December was sort of a light in the tunnel for us all because we had Christmas and the year was almost over,” senior Allie Buys said.  Although the vaccine was official, distribution was a lengthy process, leaving students with a unique holiday experience to remember.  “Christmas felt kind of weird this year.  I wasn’t able to see any of my family. But it’s worth missing one Christmas with my grandparents so that we can have many more in the future,” sophomore Kate Hester said. On a similar note, junior Micaela Candela said, “My December experience felt the same as my 2020 experience but it was more hopeful because of the vaccine. I originally thought COVID would be over with the vaccine, but it isn’t.” Throughout the loops and downhill drops of this crazy roller coaster of a year, 2020 will definitely be one for the books, and it will be remembered throughout history as a year of complete chaos. 

Happy New Year! (Thank goodness.)