It seems impossible to describe the 2020 timeline without resorting to a tired cliche. Unprecedented fell out of fashion way back in March (was that this year?), so too strange times. And yet both summations ring true; this year has been both unprecedented and strange.
Labelling it a rollercoaster doesn’t feel quite right because that implies highs and lows, yet there have been so few highs. Perhaps the most accurate way of packaging 2020 up is that it has been the longest year in history, stretched out across a canvas of events we won’t soon forget.
As we hurtle towards the end of this year, it’s time for a confronting stroll down memory lane, with a 2020 timeline, the longest year in history.
Australia burns: In what should’ve been an omen for the rest of the year, January began with bushfires burning rapidly across Australia’s east coast. At least 33 people were killed – including four firefighters – and an estimated half a billion animals perished during the deadliest bush fire season on record.
RIP Kobe: The sporting world was rocked on January 26 by the news that legendary L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash over the hills of Calabasas. Also on board was Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 30, 2020
Acquittal: Having been asked to stand trial for impeachment President Trump scores a win over his opponents when the U.S. Senate votes to acquit.
Look out Lombardy: Italy experiences its first major COVID outbreak when 152 cases are registered on February 23. Italy would become one of the worst-hit countries in Europe.
A pandemic and a prison sentence: After weeks of delay, on March 11 the World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. On that same day, Harvey Weinstein is sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault.
Game off: March sees the widespread cancellation of live sport across the world. In Europe all the principal football codes are called off, in Australia the AFL and NRL are put on hold and in the U.S. the NBA, MLB and NFL are suspended.
Not so magic million: The pandemic hits a grim milestone as April 2 sees the number of COVID-19 cases top one million.
Boris infected: Boris Johnson becomes the first (but definitely not the last) high profile leader to contract COVID-19. The U.K. Prime Minister spends a brief time in intensive care before turning to 10 Downing Street in mid-April.
George Floyd and BLM: A shocking eight-minute video of a Minneapolis police officer pinning his knee against the neck of unarmed man for surfaces online. The man in the clip, George Floyd dies, and the video goes viral, prompting the ascension of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world.
Ball is back: The NBA sets in motion a plan to reignite the 2020 season by creating a world-first ‘bubble’ community in Orlando for all playing rosters.
Smells like teen profits: The guitar used by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain during the bands’ legendary MTV Unplugged show sells for a record $6 million.
Epstein arrest: The FBI charges Ghislaine Maxwell as an accessory to the crimes committed by Jeffrey Epstein.
Melbourne lockdown: The second wave of COVID-19 infections spreads through Melbourne, leading to a three-month-long lockdown, one of the longest lockdowns in the world.
Pray for Beirut: A fire at the Port of Beirut causes an enormous explosion killing at least 200 people and injuring around 5,000 others.
Meet Mrs VP: Joe Biden makes history by picking Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate ahead of the U.S. election. She will become the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American elected vice president in U.S. history.
Supreme loss: The legal world mourns the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who passes away at 87. Donald Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett as her replacement.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. My statement: https://t.co/Wa6YcT5gDi
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 19, 2020
Trump catches COVID: On October 1, the White House confirms that both President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19. Both are treated at the Walter Reed Medical centre and make full recoveries.
Lakers get it done: LeBron James leads the L.A. Lakers to a championship, defeating the Miami Heat in a six-game series. It is the 4th championship for James and the 17th for the Lakers.
US Presidential Election: After months of intense campaigning the 2020 U.S. Presidential election finally takes place on November 3. President Trump takes an early lead on polling day but as mail ballots are counted momentum shifts to Joe Biden.
Call it for Joe: On November 7 major media outlets call the election for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump refuses to concede and launches several legal challenges in the states of Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Shot in the arm: A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer gets the green light from the FDA in the United States, followed shortly by the Moderna vaccine. Closer to home, Australian abandons its University of Queensland vaccine trial.
London in Lockdown: It’s beginning to look alot like lockdown for London residents as a new strain of COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the capital. Boris Johnson announces restrictions that virtually render Christmas cancelled for nearly 20 million Brits.