WFAE's Top Stories Of 2020
A lot happened this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 presidential election. This summer’s protests and a reckoning for racial justice.
It will be a year we will never forget.
WFAE has been there reporting on everything from President Donald Trump’s impeachment in January (hard to believe that was still this year, right?) to the approval and arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in December.
Our staff of editors and reporters identified the biggest stories in the Charlotte region. Below are some of the biggest events we followed in 2020.
1. The COVID-19 Pandemic
On March 3, North Carolina saw its first case of COVID-19.
In the weeks that followed, classrooms from kindergarten to college went virtual, and Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order shutting down dine-in services in restaurants.
Masks were soon mandated statewide and “social distance” became a term in everyone’s vocabulary. Everything from how people gather with friends to how people shop in grocery stores changed.
In December, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved by the FDA and rolled out across the state.
2. The 2020 Presidential Election
Charlotte was geared up to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, but in June, the main part of the convention was moved to Jacksonville, Florida due to North Carolina’s limits on capacity due to the pandemic.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of voters cast their ballots via absentee and early voting. North Carolina was also seen as a swing state in this election, with the odds for each candidate seeming favorable. President Trump won the state with 49.9% of the vote, compared to 48.6% for Biden.
3. #BlackLivesMatter And Racial Justice
The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement ignited protests in cities across the world, including in Charlotte. The Black Lives Matter movement encouraged many to take a hard look at systemic racism.
4. The Fallout From COVID-19
The pandemic altered everything from education to the economy. After schools went remote in the spring, districts had varying responses for the next semester with some going completely remote and some adopting a hybrid module.
North Carolina also saw a record number of people filing for unemployment benefits. The pandemic also illustrated the various inequities Black and Latino communities face.
5. Affordable Housing In Charlotte
Affordable housing proved to be hard for many in Charlotte to find this year, and the COVID-19 pandemic only amplified this struggle. A homeless encampment in Charlotte also thrust into the spotlight the struggle that many face to find housing in the area.
6. Record Number Of Homicides In Charlotte
With more than 100 homicides, Charlotte hit record numbers this year. There was a seven-day period when seven people died, as well as the Beatties Ford Road shooting in June.
7. Census 2020
The 2020 Census count took place, amid some challenges over who should be counted and was also impacted by the pandemic. Outreach efforts to get all of Charlotte counted shifted to caravans through historically undercounted neighborhoods.
There were also concerns that there would not be enough time to properly count every household due to the pandemic.
Those are just a handful of some of the biggest stories we covered this year.