Here is a look back at the events of 2020.
Notable US Events
January 2 – In the face of warnings from the Pentagon that a hold on military aid to Ukraine could be illegal, an official from the Office of Management and Budget makes it clear that the order to keep the freeze in place came directly from President Donald Trump, according to unredacted documents reviewed by Just Security.
January 7 – Federal prosecutors recommend Michael Flynn, who was Trump’s ational security adviser before resigning and pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, should serve up to 6 months in prison, saying Flynn has failed to accept responsibility for his actions and undermined a separate criminal case.
January 16 – The third Senate impeachment trial of a US president in history officially begins with the reading of the impeachment articles against Trump and the swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the senators who will decide whether Trump should be removed from office.
January 21 – The CDC confirms the first case of coronavirus in the US. The victim flew into Seattle, Washington from China before airport screenings started.
January 26 – NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash outside Calabasas, California.
January 29 – The White House announces the formation of a new task force that will help monitor and contain the spread of the coronavirus, and ensure Americans have accurate and up-to-date health and travel information.
January 31 – The Trump administration announces an expansion of the travel ban to include six new countries: Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
January 31 – After closing arguments by both legal teams, the Senate votes (49-51) to block any witnesses from being called in Trump’s impeachment trial.
February 5 – The Senate votes to acquit Trump on two articles of impeachment. Senator Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, finds the President guilty of abuse of power, becoming the first senator in US history to vote to remove from office a president from the same party.
February 6 – First Covid-19 death in the United States: A person in California’s Santa Clara County dies of coronavirus, but the link is not confirmed until April 21.
February 7 – Trump fires two key impeachment witnesses: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, and US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
February 7 – Former Rep. Joe Walsh ends his challenge against Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination.
February 11 – A Cook County, Illinois, grand jury returns a six-count indictment against actor Jussie Smollett for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime. Smollett, who is gay and Black, said he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack near his Chicago apartment in January 2019.
February 14 – According to a decision by a jury in federal court in New York, celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, whose clients have included adult film star Stormy Daniels, is found guilty on all three counts against him in the Nike extortion case.
February 17 – A second person in California’s Santa Clara County dies of coronavirus, but the link is not confirmed until April 21.
February 20 – Roger Stone, a longtime political strategist and friend of Trump, is sentenced to 40 months in prison. He was convicted of lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for Trump’s 2016 campaign.
February 24 – Harvey Weinstein is found guilty of committing a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He is acquitted of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape. On March 11, Weinstein is sentenced to 23 years in prison.
February 26 – Trump places Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the US government response to the coronavirus, amid growing criticism of the White House’s handling of the outbreak.
February 29 – A patient dies of coronavirus in Washington state. For almost two months, this is considered the first death due to the virus in the United States, until autopsy results announced April 21 reveal two earlier deaths in California.
March 3 – Joe Biden wins Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia on Super Tuesday. Biden eventually wins Maine. Bernie Sanders wins California, Colorado, Utah and Vermont.
March 3 – A tornado hits Nashville, killing 25 people and wrecking hundreds of buildings.
March 10 – Biden wins Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, and Idaho on Super Tuesday II. Biden eventually wins Washington. Sanders wins North Dakota.
March 11 – Trump announces a month-long travel ban from Europe. He later clarifies he isn’t restricting European imports. He also says insurance companies will eliminate copays for coronavirus treatments, but later clarifies he meant to say testing, not treatments.
March 13 – Louisville Metro Police officers fatally shoot Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, after they forcibly enter her apartment while executing a late-night, no-knock warrant in a narcotics investigation. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, is also in the apartment and fires one shot at who he believes are intruders. Taylor is shot at least eight times.
March 17 – Tom Brady announces he’s leaving the New England Patriots. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announce Brady signed a multi-year contract on March 20.
March 18 – Trump announces the US-Canadian border is closing to all non-essential travel. Trade is still allowed.
March 24 – During a Fox News appearance Trump says he wants to reopen the country by Easter, adding that he thinks more people will die of depression-caused suicide if restrictions are not lifted.
March 26 – United Launch Alliance launches its first communications satellite, Atlas V, for the US Space Force.
March 31 – The Dow records its worst start to a year in history, down 23.2% for the quarter.
April 2 – Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, that has been hit by a major outbreak of coronavirus, is relieved of duty for showing “poor judgment” days after writing a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship’s crew.
April 7 – White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham resigns without ever having briefed the press. She is returning to the East Wing as first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff. Kayleigh McEnany, who served as Trump’s 2020 campaign spokesperson, will replace Grisham as White House press secretary.
April 15 – Mayor Eric Garcetti tells CNN no concerts or sporting events will take place in Los Angeles until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
April 21 – California’s Santa Clara County announces autopsy results that show two Californians died of novel coronavirus in early and mid-February — up to three weeks before the previously known first US death from the virus.
May 1 – The FDA authorizes emergency use of remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19.
May 1 – Joe Biden releases a statement denying former aide Tara Reade’s claims he sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, saying of the allegation, “This never happened.”
May 4 – J.Crew Group, which operates the J.Crew and Madewell brands, has become the first national US retailer to file for bankruptcy protection since the coronavirus pandemic forced a wave of store closures.
May 5 – Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, formally files an extensive whistleblower complaint alleging his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored, and that his caution at a treatment favored by Trump led to his removal.
May 6 – For the first time in its 115-year history, New York City deliberately shuts down its entire subway system for a cleaning to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
May 7 – The US Supreme Court throws out fraud convictions against two New Jersey officials involved in the “Bridgegate” political scandal, the George Washington Bridge traffic jam that rocked the administration of then-Governor Chris Christie.
May 7 – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrests 64-year-old Gregory McMichael and his son, 34-year-old Travis McMichael, who face charges of murder and aggravated assault in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing on February 23.
May 14 – Republican Sen. Richard Burr announces he is stepping aside as chairman of the influential Senate Intelligence Committee while he’s under investigation for stock trades he made ahead of the market downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
May 21 – Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, is released from prison and will serve his remaining sentence at home.
May 22 – Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection to their role in a college admissions scandal. Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake crew team recruits.
May 26 – For the first time, Twitter highlights two of Trump’s tweets that falsely claim mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud, calling the tweets “potentially misleading.” Trump accuses the social media platform of election meddling.
May 27 – According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, the United States surpasses 100,000 coronavirus related deaths.
May 29 – CNN’s Omar Jimenez is arrested in Minneapolis while giving a live television report about ongoing protests over George Floyd’s death. His producer and photojournalist are also arrested, and all three are released approximately an hour later.
May 30 – SpaceX launches two NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, towards the International Space Station in a mission called Demo-2. It marks the first time in history that a commercial aerospace company has carried humans into Earth’s orbit. Behnken and Hurley successfully disembark the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and enter the ISS on May 31.
June 2 – Trump announces the Republican National Convention in August will no longer be taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina, after the governor insisted on a scaled down event with safety precautions, including social distancing and face masks. On July 23, Trump announces Republicans have canceled new plans to hold the convention in Jacksonville, Florida. Pared back events in Charlotte will still be held.
June 7 – Tropical Storm Cristobal makes landfall in Louisiana, flooding the Gulf coast all the way to Florida.
June 8 – Thousands of mourners gather at The Fountain of Praise Church in Houston to pay their respects to George Floyd.
June 10 – NASCAR announces the display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.
June 12 – Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year old Black man, is fatally shot by Garrett Rolfe, an Atlanta police officer, at a Wendy’s parking lot after police moved to handcuff him for suspected driving under the influence. Rolfe is fired the following day.
June 15 – The Supreme Court rules (6-3) that federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender workers. Chief Justice John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch (who writes the opinion) side with the four liberal justices.
June 18 – The Supreme Court blocks (5-4) the Trump administration’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation.
June 18 – Amy Klobuchar removes herself from consideration to be Biden’s running mate, citing the ongoing national discussion about racial injustice and police brutality to suggest the former vice president should choose a woman of color.
June 20 – Despite rising coronavirus cases in Oklahoma, Trump holds a campaign rally in Tulsa, where he calls the coronavirus the “Kung Flu.”
June 26 – Vice President Mike Pence holds the first White House coronavirus task force briefing since April 25.
June 29 – Chief Justice Roberts sides with Supreme Court liberal justices to block (5-4) the controversial Louisiana abortion law that critics said would have closed nearly every clinic in the state.
July 2 – Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell is arrested and charged by federal prosecutors for her alleged role in recruiting, grooming and sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 as part of a years-long criminal enterprise. Maxwell attempts to hide inside her house when FBI agents arrive to arrest her.
July 7 – The Trump administration notifies Congress and the United Nations that the United States is formally withdrawing from the World Health Organization, effective July 6, 2021.
July 8 – Trump meets with Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador (who flew commercial) at the White House where they celebrate the July 1 implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
July 8 – The Supreme Court clears the way for the Trump administration to expand exemptions for employers who have religious or moral objections to complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. The 7-2 ruling reverses a lower court decision that had blocked Trump’s move nationwide.
July 10 – Trump grants full clemency to Roger Stone and commutes his prison sentence. He was convicted of crimes that include five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering and one count of obstructing a congressional committee proceeding. The announcement comes days before Stone was set to report to a federal prison in Georgia.
July 10 – Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sends out an internal memo outlining new US Postal Service procedures, which lead to delays across the country in mail delivery. DeJoy reverses course on August 18, saying that all changes being made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election, just as 20 states announced plans to file federal lawsuits, arguing DeJoy was illegally changing mail procedures ahead of the 2020 election as the USPS braces for an unusually high number of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic.
July 13 – The National Football League’s Washington, D.C., franchise announces it will change the Redskins name and logo. The name has long been denounced by Native American groups as an ethnic slur. On July 23, the franchise announces it will play the 2020 season as the Washington Football Team and will pick a permanent replacement name at a later date.
July 16 – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp files a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms attempting to block her mandate requiring residents to wear a mask. Kemp claims Bottoms does not have the authority to modify his executive orders regarding Covid-19 safety measures with more restrictive requirements. On August 13, he withdraws the lawsuit.
July 17 – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announces that her cancer has reemerged, and she has been undergoing chemotherapy since May. She says she is “fully able” to remain a member of the Court.
July 17 – Rep. John Lewis dies after a six-month battle with cancer.
July 20 – Georgia State Sen. Nikema Williams is chosen to replace the late US Rep. John Lewis on the ballot in November.
July 23 – Major League Baseball starts a shortened season four months after Opening Day was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
July 23 – A federal judge orders Michael Cohen to be released from prison to home confinement after finding the government had sent him back to prison in retaliation for a book he was writing about Trump.
July 30 – Obama eulogizes John Lewis before the late congressman’s body is laid to rest in Atlanta, drawing a comparison between the battles Lewis participated in during the Civil Rights Movement and the current protests for racial justice happening across America.
July 30 – NASA sends the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter into space. Perseverance is scheduled to land at Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021.
July 31 – A federal appeals court vacates the death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The court sets aside three of his 30 convictions, but says he must remain in federal prison for the rest of his life.
August 8 – Trump signs four executive orders on coronavirus relief, one of which will provide as much as $400 in enhanced unemployment benefits, 25% of which states are being asked to cover, after Democrats and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on a stimulus bill.
August 9 – A 5.1-magnitude earthquake hits about 2 miles from the town of Sparta, North Carolina, along the state’s border with Virginia. It’s the strongest earthquake to shake the state since 1926, according to a preliminary report from the US Geological Survey.
August 11 – Biden announces Kamala Harris as his running mate, making the California senator the first Black woman and South Asian-American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket.
August 16-17 – The August Complex fire begins in northern California as a series of separate fires sparked by lightning strikes. The fires burned more than a million acres and destroyed 935 structures. It is one of the largest fires in California’s recent history, according to Cal Fire.
August 17 – The Democratic National Convention kicks off with a two-hour virtual event. Top speakers of the night include Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders and former Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican.
August 17 – The LNU Complex Fire begins in northern California. It is contained on October 2, after burning 363,220 acres, destroying 1,491 structures, and six deaths.
August 18 – The SCU Lighting Complex Fire begins in Northern California. It is contained on October 1, after burning 396,624 acres and destroying over 200 structures.
August 18 – The North Complex Fire begins in Northern California. It is contained on December 3, after burning 318,935 acres, damaging or destroying 2,455 structures, and 16 deaths.
August 18 –Trump pardons Susan. B. Anthony on the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote. The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House declines his pardon.
August 18 – The Senate Intelligence Committee releases the fifth and final counterintelligence report, the most comprehensive to date, explaining how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign welcomed the foreign adversary’s help.
August 18 – Democrats hold their roll call vote during day 2 of the virtual Democratic National Convention, with party members appearing on video from each of the 57 states and territories to announce the delegates Biden and other Democrats received from their primary or caucus. Biden is officially nominated for president by the Democratic Party.
August 19 – Harris accepts the vice presidential nomination during day 3 of the virtual Democratic National Convention. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Gabrielle Giffords also speak.
August 20 – New York federal prosecutors arrest and charge Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and three others with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump’s border wall.
August 23 – The US Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency use authorization of convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19, saying the “known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”
August 23 – White House counselor Kellyanne Conway announces she will leave her post at the end of the month while her husband, George Conway, announces he is withdrawing from The Lincoln Project, both citing a need to focus on their family.
August 23 – Jacob Blake, a Black man, is shot multiple times in the back by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin as he enters his SUV. His three children, ages 3, 5 and 8, are in the car when the shooting takes place.
August 24 – The Republican National Convention begins with an in-person roll call in Charlotte, North Carolina.
August 24 – TikTok announces it’s suing the Trump administration in response to what it said is a “heavily politicized” executive order that seeks to ban the short-form video app from the United States.
August 25 – Trump announces he will officially appoint acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to take over the role on a permanent basis.
August 26 – Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is arrested and charged with first-degree intentional homicide in relation to an overnight shooting during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
August 26 – Following Jacob Blake’s shooting by Kenosha, Wisconsin police, the Milwaukee Bucks announce they will be boycotting their playoff game. Soon after, the NBA announces it will postpone Game 5 of three different playoff series. Multiple WNBA, MLS and MLB games are also called off.
August 28 – Fifty-seven years to the day Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, thousands gather on the National Mall, including relatives of African Americans killed or injured in recent police encounters, to call for social and political change.
August 29 – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence informs the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence that it will no longer be briefing in-person on election security issues. Instead, ODNI will provide written updates to the congressional panels.
August 29 – One person is killed in downtown Portland after clashes between Trump supporters and protesters denouncing police brutality.
September 1 – Trump visits Kenosha, Wisconsin, to show support for the National Guard and local law enforcement “because they’ve done a great job” following the protests over Jacob Blake’s shooting by police.
September 2 – Trump appears to encourage people in North Carolina to vote twice in the November general election, once by mail and once in person, to double check that their initial vote was counted. Americans can only vote once per election.
September 3 – Biden visits Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he and Jill Biden hold a community meeting “to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face,” according to his campaign. While there, they also visit with Jacob Blake’s family.
September 3 – Seven police officers in Rochester, New York, involved in the March arrest of Daniel Prude, are suspended. Prude was a Black man who was pinned down to the ground with a “spit sock” placed over his head and later died.
September 4 – The Creek Fire begins in Central California. It is one of the six largest fires in California’s recent history.
September 8 – Nine vaccine makers say they have signed a joint pledge to uphold “high ethical standards,” suggesting they won’t seek premature government approval for any Covid-19 vaccines they develop.
September 9 – Trump admits he knew weeks before the first confirmed US coronavirus death that the virus was dangerous, airborne, highly contagious and “more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” and that he repeatedly played it down publicly, according to legendary journalist Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage.”
September 15 – The city of Louisville, Kentucky, agrees to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT killed by police six months ago, to settle a wrongful death lawsuit, family attorney Sam Aguilar confirms to CNN.
September 16 – Hurricane Sally strengthens to a category 2 before making landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama.
September 22 – According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, the United States surpasses 200,000 coronavirus related deaths.
September 26 – Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative federal appeals court judge, to succeed Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court.
September 27 – The New York Times reports that Trump paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000 because he reported losing significantly more than he made.
September 29 – Ginsburg is laid to rest in a private ceremony after being the first woman to lie in state in the US Capitol.
September 29 – The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden takes place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
September 30 – The Commission on Presidential Debates announces it will be making changes to the format of the remaining presidential debates after the first debate between Biden and Trump devolved into a chaotic disaster.
October 2 – Trump announces via Twitter that he and Melania both tested positive for coronavirus. Late in the afternoon, Trump is taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
October 6 – Trump announces in a series of Tweets that he has ordered his negotiators to halt talks over a new stimulus package.
October 8 – Thirteen people are charged in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, federal and state officials announce.
October 9 – The Commission on Presidential Debates cancels the second presidential debate after Trump declines to do a virtual debate despite concerns over his Covid-19 diagnosis.
October 9 – Hurricane Delta makes landfall near Creole, Louisiana. At least four people are reported to have died.
October 19 – The Commission on Presidential Debates announces Biden and Trump will have their microphones muted during portions of the second and final presidential debate.
October 20 – The Trump administration sues Google in what is the largest antitrust case against a tech company in more than two decades. In its complaint, the Justice Department makes sweeping allegations that Google has stifled competition to maintain its powerful position in the marketplace for online search and search advertising.
October 20 – NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft successfully touches down on asteroid Bennu and collects a sample from the asteroid’s surface. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2023.
October 21 – Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, agrees to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its role in creating the nation’s opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and close down the company.
October 22 – The second and final presidential debate between Trump and Biden takes place at Belmont University in Nashville with NBC’s Kristen Welker as moderator.
October 22 – The US Food and Drug Administration approves remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus, the drug’s maker, Gilead Sciences announces. It is the first drug to be approved for treating Covid-19.
October 26 – Senate Republicans vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is the only GOP senator to cross party lines and vote with Democrats against the nomination.
October 26 – Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man, is shot and killed during a confrontation with police in West Philadelphia. His family says he suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis during the time of the shooting.
November 7 – Days after the election on November 3, CNN projects Biden is elected the 46th president of the United States. Trump refuses to concede.
November 9 – Trump announces on Twitter he has fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and that Christopher Miller, who serves as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting secretary “effective immediately.”
November 15 – A SpaceX spacecraft carrying four astronauts launches into outer space. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with Japan’s space agency, dock with the ISS on November 16.
November 16 – Moderna announces its coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective against coronavirus according to early data, making it the second vaccine in the US to have a high success rate.
November 17 – Trump announces on Twitter he is firing Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and directly ties it to Krebs’ statement that said there “is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”
November 18 – The Federal Aviation Administration issues an order that paves the way for the Boeing 737 Max to carry passengers again, ending the jet’s 20-month grounding. The planes were originally grounded in March 2019 after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.
November 20 – Pfizer and BioNTech submit to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccine candidate. This is the first coronavirus vaccine to seek regulatory clearance in the United States.
November 23 – The General Services Administration informs President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process. The letter is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge Trump’s defeat, more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner in the election.
November 25 – Trump announces in a tweet that he has granted his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a “full pardon,” wiping away the guilty plea of the intelligence official for lying to the FBI.
December 1 – The CDC’s vaccine advisers vote 13-1 to recommend that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be the first in line for any coronavirus vaccines that get emergency authorization from the FDA.
December 11 – The FDA authorizes the first Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the US. The Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been found to be 95% effective. On December 12 the CDC advisory panel votes to recommend the vaccine for people 16 and older. Pfizer begins shipping its coronavirus vaccine to the states and territories on December 13.
December 18 – The FDA authorizes the Moderna vaccine for emergency use in the US. On December 19 the CDC advisory panel votes to recommend the vaccine for people 18 and older. Moderna begins shipping its coronavirus vaccine on December 20.
December 22 – Governor Gavin Newsom appoints California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ Senate seat, choosing the first Latino in state history for the role.
December 23 – Trump announces 26 new pardons, including for Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s father, Charles.
December 25 – An RV explodes on Nashville’s Second Avenue after the vehicle repeatedly warns of an imminent explosion. The explosion injures at least three people and damages more than 40 businesses. Authorities later identify Anthony Quinn Warner as the bomber after matching his DNA to remains found at the scene of the explosion.
December 27 – Trump signs the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law, averting a government shutdown.
December 29 – Boeing’s 737 MAX returns to passenger service in the US for the first time since two fatal crashes grounded the jet in March 2019.
Notable International Events
January 5 – After a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran announces that it will no longer limit itself to restrictions contained in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In a statement, Iran indicates it “will return to JCPOA limits once all sanctions are removed from the country.”
January 5 – China announces that the unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan are not SARS or MERS. In a statement, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission says a retrospective probe into the outbreak has been initiated. On January 7, Chinese authorities confirm that they have identified the virus as a novel coronavirus, initially named 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization.
January 7 – Opposition leader Juan Guaido is briefly blocked from entering Venezuela’s National Assembly building by soldiers in riot gear, before he and a number of fellow opposition lawmakers force their way in.
January 8 – Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 bound for Kiev crashes after taking off from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, killing all 176 aboard. On January 11, Iran’s state media reports Iran unintentionally shot down the 737.
January 8 – Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announce they will be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the Royal family. On January 18, Buckingham palace announces Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use the titles His and Her Royal Highness
January 11 – Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen wins reelection after securing more than 57% of the vote.
January 11 – The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announces the first death caused by the coronavirus. A 61-year-old man, exposed to the virus at a seafood market, died on January 9 after respiratory failure caused by severe pneumonia.
January 12 – The Taal Volcano erupts in the Philippines, spewing ash up to 9 miles into the air and generating volcanic lightning.
January 21 – After months of escalating protests, Lebanon names a new prime minister, Hassan Diab, a professor and former education minister.
January 24 – At least 41 people are killed and more than 1,607 are hospitalized in eastern Turkey after an earthquake rattles the region, according to state broadcaster TRT Haber.
January 30 – The World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The decision came after cases of human-to-human transmissions were confirmed outside China, where the outbreak started.
January 31 – After three-and-a half years and three prime ministers since the 2016 Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom becomes the first ever country to leave the European Union.
February 9 – A shooting at a military base in Thailand’s northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province, known as Korat, and a crowded shopping mall ends with 29 people dead. The 32-year-old gunman is killed.
February 19 – A gunman believed to have a far-right background kills 9 people at two shisha bars in Hanau, Germany. He is later found dead along with his mother.
April 5 – Queen Elizabeth addresses the nation in a rare televised speech and calls for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
April 18-19 – A gunman goes on a shooting rampage in Nova Scotia, killing 22 people.
May 1 – Less than two weeks after Canada’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces assault-style weapons are banned in Canada effective immediately.
May 20 – More than 80 people are killed and thousands more left homeless after Cyclone Amphan slams into coastal towns in India and Bangladesh.
July 4 – The World Health Organization announces it will not continue studying the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir as treatments for Covid-19. The decision is based on the Solidarity Trial’s interim results, which show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little to no reduction in deaths of hospitalized Covid-19 patients.
July 7 – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announces he has tested positive for Covid-19.
July 10 – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan orders the conversion of the city’s historic Hagia Sophia back into a mosque after a court annulled a 1934 presidential decree that made it a museum. On July 24, prayers are held for the first time in more than 80 years.
July 17 – Princess Beatrice, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, marries real estate developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a secret wedding at Windsor Castle attended by Queen Elizabeth II.
July 21 – EU leaders agree on an unprecedented €750 billion recovery fund to rebuild EU economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
July 28 – Islam’s annual Hajj pilgrimage begins with just a fraction of its regular number of worshippers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saudi Arabia only allows roughly 1,000 pilgrims to attend the Hajj this year. The holy sites in the cities of Mecca and Medina normally host more than 2 million people during the pilgrimage.
August 3 – Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, goes into exile amid controversy over his financial dealings.
August 4 – An explosion in Beirut kills at least 175 people and injures over 5,000. The blast was caused by a large supply of unsecured explosive material, stored in a warehouse at the city’s port.
August 9 – Mass protests erupt across Belarus following the release of exit polls, showing a victory for President Alexander Lukashenko with 80% of the vote.
August 11 – Vladimir Putin announces the approval of a coronavirus vaccine for use, claiming it as a “world first,” amid continued concern over its safety and effectiveness. The vaccine has been named Sputnik-V.
August 20 – Russian opposition leader and outspoken Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny is in a coma after falling ill from suspected poisoning, his spokeswoman says. Navalny started feeling unwell while on a return flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk.
August 27 – White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in modern history is sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole, the first time such a sentence has been handed down in the country’s courts.
August 28 – Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history, announces he is stepping down due to health problems.
August 31 – The first Israeli commercial flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates takes place after an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries.
September 2 – The German government announces Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group, Soviet-era chemical weapons.
September 7 – Saudi Arabia issues “final verdicts” against eight suspects in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. Five of the defendants who were spared the death penalty are sentenced to 20 years in prison, one defendant is handed a sentence of 10 years, and the two others face seven years in prison. Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Killings who led an independent investigation into the murder, calls the verdicts a “parody of justice.”
September 8 – AstraZeneca announces it has paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. “As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data,” the company says in a statement sent to CNN.
September 10 – A huge fire breaks out at Beirut’s port, just weeks after a massive blast at the same site killed at least 175 people.
September 15 – US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu join the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House to mark historic normalization agreements between Israel and the two Arab countries.
September 16 – Yoshihide Suga is elected as Japan’s new prime minister following a vote in the country’s Parliament.
October 10 – North Korea unveils what analysts believe could be one of the world’s largest ballistic missiles at a military parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party.
October 17 – Jacinda Ardern wins a second term as New Zealand’s prime minister.
October 24 – At least 140 migrants drown off Senegal in the deadliest shipwreck recorded this year, according to the United Nations migration agency.
October 30 – At least 81 people are killed in Turkey and Greece when an earthquake hits the Aegean Sea, sending buildings crashing down and triggering what authorities have called a “mini tsunami.”
November 10 – An internal Vatican investigation reveals the late Pope John Paul II was warned about allegations of sexual impropriety by Theodore McCarrick but chose to promote him to Archbishop of Washington anyway.
November 11 – Typhoon Vamco makes landfall in the Philippines, killing at least 73 people. More than 230,000 people are evacuated as the typhoon hits many of the same communities that were devastated by Typhoon Goni just 10 days earlier.
November 16 – Hurricane Iota makes landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 major hurricane.
December 2 – The United Kingdom becomes the first Western nation to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine. UK regulators grant emergency authorization for the vaccine made by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
December 8 – The UK becomes the world’s first nation to begin vaccinating its citizens with a fully vetted and authorized Covid-19 shot.
December 11 – Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is charged under a controversial national security law on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security, according to Hong Kong police.
December 17 – French President Macron tests positive for Covid-19.
December 28 – Independent Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan, who reported from Wuhan at the height of the initial coronavirus outbreak, is sentenced to four years in jail by a Shanghai court. She was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to Zhang Keke, one of her defense lawyers.
December 30 – The United Kingdom announces its regulator has authorized the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to do so.
Awards and Winners
January 5 – The 77th Annual Golden Globes are presented in Beverly Hills, California, and air live on NBC with Ricky Gervais hosting.
January 13 – The Louisiana State University Tigers defeat the Clemson Tigers 42-25 in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
January 19 – The 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are held.
January 20-February 2 – The 108th edition of the Australian Open takes place. Novak Djokovic defeats Dominic Thiem in the men’s final to win his eighth Australian Open title, and Sofia Kenin defeats Garbine Muguruza in the women’s final, to win her first Grand Slam title.
January 25 – The NHL All-Star Game takes place at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The Pacific Division defeats the Atlantic Division 5-4. David Pastrňák is named MVP.
January 26 – The 50th NFL Pro Bowl takes place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The AFC defeats the NFC, 38-33.
January 26 – The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
February 2 – Super Bowl LIV takes place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Kansas City Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20.
February 9 – The 92nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony takes place.
February 9-11 – The 144th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place.
February 16 – The 69th NBA All-Star Game takes place at the United Center in Chicago. Team LeBron defeats Team Giannis, 157-155.
February 17 – Denny Hamlin wins the 62nd Annual Daytona 500.
February 22 – The 51st NAACP Image Awards ceremony is held.
March 18 – Thomas Waerner wins his first Iditarod.
May 4 – The Pulitzer Prizes are announced.
June 20 – The 152nd Belmont Stakes takes place, without spectators in attendance amid the coronavirus pandemic, and as the first leg of the Triple Crown for the first time in history. Tiz the Law, with jockey Manny Franco, wins.
June 26 – The 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards are presented virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
August 9 – Collin Morikawa wins the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
August 23 – Takuma Sato wins the 104th Indianapolis 500. The race takes place with no fans in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sato also won in 2017.
August 29-September 20 – The 107th Tour de France takes place. Tadej Pogacar becomes the first Slovenian to win the Tour de France.
August 31-September 13 – The US Open Tennis Tournament takes place. Naomi Osaka defeats Victoria Azarenka, and Dominic Thiem defeats Alexander Zverev, becoming the first player in the Open Era to rally from two sets down and win a US Open final.
September 5 – The 146th Kentucky Derby is takes place. Authentic wins the race. The race was originally scheduled for May 2, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
September 20 – Bryson DeChambeau of the United States wins the 120th US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.
September 20 – The 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony takes place with Jimmy Kimmel as host. The awards are presented virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
September 21-October 11 – The French Open takes place at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. Iga Swiatek defeats Sofia Kenin, becoming the first Polish grand slam winner and Rafael Nadal defeats Novak Djokovic, earning his 13th French Open title.
September 28 – The Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
October 3 – The 145th running of the Preakness Stakes takes place without spectators. Swiss Skydiver wins the race. The race was originally scheduled for May 16, but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
October 5-12 – The Nobel Prizes are announced. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the World Food Programme for its “efforts to combat hunger” and its “contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas.”
October 11 – The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, winning the series 4-2.
October 27 – The Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series for the first time since 1988, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6.
November 12-15 – The 84th Masters tournament takes place. Dustin Johnson wins, finishing with a record-breaking 20-under 268. Originally slated to tee off in April, the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.