2021 Year in Review


Associated Press

Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States during the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021.

Bailey Darbro, Jr. Editor

2021 wasn’t a return to normal. The year began at the height of a pandemic — with an attack on the Capitol, the inauguration of a new president, and continued work by activists around the country for racial justice, voter’s rights, and sustainable climate policy. COVID-19 concerns and the impact of vaccines dominated the news and conversation. Let’s take a closer look at the most historical events of 2021. 

January 6: Supporters of President Donald Trump storm the Capitol during congressional certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s win, resulting in five deaths and prompting the evacuation of lawmakers. 

January 13: President Donald Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives voting 232-197 for “incitement of insurrection.” First time in history a US President has been impeached twice. 

January 20: Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President, the first female, Black and South Asian Vice President; Amanda Gorman recites “The Hill We Climb.” 

February 9: Senate Impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins in Washington D.C. 

February 13: Former President Donald Trump acquitted in second Senate impeachment trial on charge of incitement of insurrection. 

February 15: Major winter storm stretches from Texas to Maine, leaving over 3 million people without power in Texas. Results in the deaths of 210 people. 

February 20: President Joe Biden declares a major disaster in Texas as state struggles to cope with the aftermath of a crippling winter storm.  

February 22: US death toll from COVID-19 passes 500,000. 

February 27: US authorizes its third COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, a one-shot vaccine. 

March 7: Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex broadcast on CBS, alleges Meghan was subject to racist treatment by the palace. 

March 14: UK police officer charged with the death of Sarah Everard, who disappeared walking home in south London, and whose death sparked debate about violence against women. 

March 16: Gunman shoots and kills eight people at three different spas in Atlanta, Georgia. 

March 21: 10 people shot dead at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, by a 21-year-old gunman. 

March 23: Cargo ship “Ever Given” gets stuck in the Suez Canal, Egypt, and completely blocks the shipping canal. 

March 29: Trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd begins in Minneapolis. 

April 11: 20-year-old Daunte Wright is shot and killed at a traffic stop by police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. 

April 14: President Joe Biden confirms his decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11. 

April 15: A shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, leaves eight dead and five injured. 

April 17: Global COVID-19 death toll passes 3 million.

April 20: Former police officer Derek Chauvin convicted of the murder of George Floyd. 

May 10: FDA authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-to-15 year-olds. 

May 13: CDC says people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 aren’t required to wear masks. 

May 25: CDC says half of all US adults are now fully vaccinated, with 61% having had their first shot. 

May 31: Naomi Osaka pulls out of the French Open for mental health reasons. 

June 17: President Joe Biden signs into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making June 19th a federal holiday commemorating emancipation. 

June 23: Supreme Court rules in favor of teen kicked off cheerleading team after profane social media post, saying school violated her free speech. 

June 25: Former police officer Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 years and 6 months for the murder of George Floyd. 

July 8: Global known death toll from COVID-19 passes 4 million; Japan says the Olympics will be held without spectators as Tokyo announces a state of emergency due to a surge in COVID-19.

July 23: XXXII Summer Olympic Games officially open in Tokyo, Japan. 

July 27: Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles withdraws from the Tokyo Games for mental health reasons. 

July 29: Sunisa Lee becomes first Hmong-American Olympic champion in any sport when she wins women’s artistic individual all-around gymnastics gold in Tokyo. 

August 1: US COVID-19 cases double in 10 days due to surge of Delta variant; US passes the 35 million mark in COVID-19 cases.

August 2: 70% of Americans have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot. 

August 4: Global known COVID-19 caseload passes 200 million, with the death toll at 4.2 million. 

August 8: Taliban captures three regional Afghan cities; The Dixie Fire becomes California’s second-largest wildfire at 463,000 acres; XXXII Summer Olympic Games officially close in Tokyo, Japan. 

August 10: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns. 

August 23: US FDA grants full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and over. 

August 24: Kathy Hochul becomes the first female Governor of New York, replacing Andrew Cuomo. 

August 26: Two bomb blasts at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, kill at least 60 people amid international efforts to evacuate citizens out of the country. 

August 29: Hurricane Ida makes landfall as a Category 4 storm near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. 

August 30: US ends its longest-ever war of 20 years in Afghanistan.

September 1: Texas law banning most abortion after six weeks comes into effect, now most restrictive in the country. 

September 2: At least 43 people die as the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the US Northeast. 

September 7: US records more than 40 million cases of COVID-19. 

September 11: 20th anniversary of 9/11. 

September 11: Taliban says women must study in gender-segregated classrooms in Afghanistan. 

September 14: 1 in 500 Americans have died of COVID-19, as the nation’s known death toll reaches 663,913. 

September 15: US gymnasts testify against former team doctor Larry Nassar at a Senate Committee hearing; SpaceX launches the first all-civilian space flight from Canaveral, Florida, for a three-day orbit around Earth. 

September 19: US apologizes for an Afghan airstrike that killed 10 civilians, including 7 children; Body of Youtuber Gabby Petito found at Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. 

October 1: US COVID-19 death toll passes 700,000; Global COVID-19 death toll of recorded cases passes 5 million. 

October 28: Mark Zuckerburg announces Facebook will change its corporate name to Meta. 

November 1: Global death toll from COVID-19 passes 5 million.

November 3: US begins vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years with lower dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

November 5: 8 people crushed to death and 13 hospitalized in a crowd surge during a Travis Scott performance at Astroworld Festival, Houston, Texas. 

November 8: US reopens its borders to vaccinated non-US citizens after more than 18 months, lifting restrictions imposed because of COVID-19. 

November 19: Jury clears Kyle Rittenhouse of murder for fatally shooting two people and injuring a third during racial justice protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

November 30: Oxford High School shooting in Oxford, Michigan results in four dead and seven injured. 

December 10: Rare December tornadoes strike four states including Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, completely destroying some towns and leaving at least 70 dead.

December 14: US COVID-19 death toll passes 800,000 with more deaths recorded in 2021 than 2020.