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The 2020 News Roundup

After the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white officer in Minneapolis, people took to the streets around the world to protest police brutality and centuries of white supremacy
After the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white officer in Minneapolis, people took to the streets around the world to protest police brutality and centuries of white supremacy

Ah, a review of the news in 2020. We know what you’re thinking. How will we talk about everything that happened during this wild, devastating, powerful year in just one show?

2020 began with an assassination — specifically, the American assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. His death set off a flurry of anxiety about Iranian retaliation and the potential for World War III. But another crisis quickly emerged.

COVID-19 started as a distant panic in China’s Hubei province. By March, it had spread around the world and arrived in America. To date, the pandemic has taken nearly 340,000 lives in the United States and nearly 1.8 million lives worldwide.

The summer was characterized by a national uprising after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Floyd was a Black man in Minneapolis killed by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin. Taylor was a Black woman from Kentucky, killed by police officers as they executed a search warrant on her house. Their deaths caused millions to take to the streets around the world to protest police brutality and centuries of white supremacy.

By September, we faced another surge of COVID-19. President Trump was diagnosed with the virus. He recovered. Many others didn’t.

And at the beginning of November, a historic number of Americans went to the polls. We didn’t know who won on Election Day. But after several days of nail biting, former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, news organizations (and later, the Electoral College) called them as the winners of the presidential election.

Now, we’re living through a winter like no other in recent memory. More people are spending the holidays apart, as ICUs around the country are brimming with COVID-19 patients.

We know that summary left a lot out. And we also know that this year especially resists simple narratives. We know how COVID-19 began, but even with vaccines, we don’t know where the pandemic will end. We don’t know whether the so-called “racial reckoning” of the summer will result in any concrete initiatives that lead to more equality or even, less police violence.

And it’s not as if other crises paused during this year. Wildfires engulfed acres across the western United States and Australia, calling attention to our collective inaction on climate change.

We’re doing our best to review it all and talk with you about the 17,000 years that passed during 2020.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.