A Look Back at 2020
Even though it seemed like everything was cancelled in 2020, we did have a lot of newsworthy events take place. Here is a breakdown by month...
- The year kicked off with some of the worst wildfires in Australia’s history, destroying over 12 million acres of land.
- COVID reared its head in January. The very first case in the U.S. was confirmed on January 21st. A Washington State man who had travelled from the city of Wuhan in China, where it all started tested positive
- The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began.
- 41 year old basketball icon Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a tragic helicopter accident.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their intention to step down from the royal family.
- A heart attack took actor and screenwriter Buck Henry at the age of 89.
- February was consumed with the impeachment of President Donald Trump by the House. He was eventually acquitted by the Senate of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
- February 2nd: The Kansas City Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49ers in a stunning Super Bowl comeback.
- February 3rd: The U.S. declared a Public Health Emergency.
- February 11th: The WHO says the disease will be officially known as COVID-19.
- February 29th: Officials in Washington state note the first coronavirus death in the U.S.
- Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary.
- Three-time Oscar nominee Kirk Douglas passed away at the age of 103.
- While walking in Venice, CA, two cars struck and killed 91 year old Orson Bean.
- Actor Robert Conrad died at the age of 84 from heart failure.
- In March it was back to COVID. The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic,
- March 6th: The first cancellation of a major event -- the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.
- March 10th: Michigan confirmed its first two COVID-19 cases. Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in response to the first cases.
- March 11th: The NBA suspended its season after a player tests positive.
- March 11th: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they had tested positive for COVID-19.
- March 12th: The NHL and Major League Baseball followed the NBA and suspended operations. The NCAA also cancelled its men's basketball tournament.
- March 13th: Racial injustice remained at the forefront of people’s minds as Breonna Taylor was killed by police during a botched raid in Louisville, Ky.
- March 13th: Gov. Whitmer announced the closure of all Michigan K-12 schools, including public, private and boarding. Michigan also banned all gatherings of 250 or more.
- March 16th: Gov. Whitmer issued an order to close all bar and restaurant dine-in, gyms, coffee houses, and most public places as COVID-19 cases total more than 50. Michigan also banned gatherings of 50 or more.
- March 16th: The Holland Tulip Time Festival, which was scheduled for May 2nd-10th, was cancelled.
- The following day, the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts was cancelled for the first time in five decades. It had been scheduled for the first weekend in June.
- March 23rd: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statewide stay-at-home order for all non-essential workers. Individuals were permitted to only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances.
- March 24th: Japan announced that the Summer Olympics in Tokyo would be postponed to 2021.
- March 25th: The Tony Awards and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions were postponed.
- March 27th: President Trump signed the CARES Act into law, pumping more than $2 trillion in federal aid back into the economy.
- "Tiger King" hit Netflix and became a quarantine smash.
- 77 year old Fred “Curly” Neal, who was once a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, passed away.
- Kenny Rogers died at the age of 81
- April 2nd: Gov. Whitmer officially suspended in-person learning for the rest of the school year at K-12 schools across the state.
- April 3rd: The White House and CDC begin advising people to wear face coverings in public to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
- April 13th: The Treasury Department began sending out $1200 stimulus checks.
- April 15th: Tensions over COVID took center stage in April, when armed demonstrators took to the Michigan State Capitol in “Operation Gridlock” to protest stay-at-home orders.
- April 20th: President Trump announced that he was suspending immigration to the U.S.
- The highly anticipated mobile streaming service Quibi launched, only to shut down six months later.
- Prolific actor of television, stage and movies, Brian Dennehy (81), died of a heart attack.
- May 11th: The American Hockey League announced that the league’s Board of Governors had voted to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 AHL regular season and the 2020 Calder Cup Playoffs, putting an end to the Grand Rapids Griffins playing season.
- May 15th: The White House introduced Operation Warp Speed to accelerate vaccine development.
- May 25th: George Floyd was killed after a police officer kneels on his neck for an extended period, setting off worldwide protests.
- May 30th: After what started as a peaceful protest, riots broke out in downtown Grand Rapids. Most of the glass storefronts of businesses were smashed and many businesses were looted. The following day, local residents headed downtown with brooms, shovels, and buckets and cleaned up the mess. Storefronts were boarded up and in a few days artists would start painting murals on those big pieces of plywood.
- “Murder hornets” became a new fascination as they reach North America for the first time.
- 98 year old creative genius Carl Reiner passed away from natural causes.
- “Seinfeld” and “The King of Queens” actor Jerry Stiller died of natural causes at the age of 92.
- A rare blood cancer took 70 year old Phyllis George. She was the 1971 Miss America and became one of the first female TV sportscasters.
- 75 year old Roy Horn, one-half of the Las Vegas act Siegfried and Roy, died of COVID.
- Comedic actor Fred Willard passed away at the age of 86.
- On June 1st, a peaceful protest near the White House was broken up in order to allow President Trump to pose outside a church holding a Bible.
- June 10th: ArtPrize’s board of directors announced the cancellation of the organization’s 2020 exhibition. The event had been scheduled to take place from September 16th through October 4th in downtown Grand Rapids. The future of ArtPrize remains uncertain.
- June 30th: After the start of the season was postponed, The West Michigan Whitecaps announced the cancellation of their entire 2020 season.
- Major League Baseball finally returned, in front of cardboard cut-outs, but it was better than nothing.
- The Trump administration considered banning the social media app TikTok, setting off a debate on whether the app posed a security threat to the U.S
- Rumors of a toxic workplace at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” emerged.
- The NBA resumed its season in a “bubble” at Disney World.
- TV host Regis Philbin died of natural causes at the age of 88.
- 57 year old actress Kelly Preston quietly battled breast cancer for two years. Her husband John Travolta announced Kelly's shocking death on Instagram.
- The last living cast member of “Gone With the Wind”, Olivia de Havilland, died in her sleep at the age of 104.
- 99 year old legendary news broadcaster Hugh Downs died at home.
- Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his VP running mate, making her the first woman of color on a major-party ticket.
- California wildfires raged, fueled by dry heat and extreme temperatures
- August 29th: Hurricane Laura slammed into the Louisiana Gulf Coast. It was one of 12 named storms to hit the U.S. this season.
- Pulaski Days organizers announced that the annual festival was cancelled for 2020.
- The sudden death of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman shocked Hollywood and fans alike. He had concealed his four-year battle with colon cancer until his death.
- The face of Quaker Oats, Wilford Brimley, passed away from a kidney ailment at the age of 85.
- September 18th: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
- President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as RBG’s replacement.
- Biden and Trump had their first debate.
- 77 year old television actor Kevin Dobson died due to complications of an autoimmune deficiency. He co-starred in “Kojak” in the '70s and throughout the '80s in the primetime soap “Knot’s Landing”.
- October 2nd: COVID hit the Oval Office in October. President Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, and he was taken to Walter Reed Medical Center.
- October 5th: President Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center.
- The Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
- Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen passed away at the age of 65 after battling cancer for years.
- LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers go on to defeat the Miami Heat to win the NBA championship.
- The original James Bond actor Sean Connery died in his sleep and the age of 90. His death certificate reported pneumonia and heart failure as the cause of death. His family said Connery had suffered with dementia for some time.
- “Two and a Half Men” actress Conchata Ferrell died from a heart attack at the age of 77.
- On November 3rd we headed to the polls or voted by absentee ballot. More Americans voted in this election than in any other election in U.S. history. Joe Biden won. President Trump disagreed, and tried to overturn the result both in the courts and in certain state legislatures.
- November 9th: Pfizer published its vaccine trial results, saying it is 90% effective.
- November 16th: Moderna said its vaccine is close to 95% effective.
- Stage 4 pancreatic cancer took “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek at the age of 80.
- The man behind the Darth Vader mask, David Prowse, died at the age of 85.
- The year ended with some positive news on COVID with the approval of some vaccines.
- The first COVID-19 vaccines were administered.
- Due to complications from multiple sclerosis, 73 year old David Lander died. His most memorable role was “Squiggy” in the '70s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley”.
- The original Boba Fett Actor, Jeremy Bulloch, died at age 75.
- Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island" died at the age of 82 due to complications from COVID-19.
- Alto Reed, saxophonist for Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band, died at the age of 72 from colon cancer.