It is safe to say that America is quite happy to flip the calendar to 2021 when the clock strikes midnight late on Thursday night and put 2020 in its rearview mirror.
The coronavirus pandemic has virtually shut down tourism while forcing restaurants, bars, pubs, concert halls, movie theaters, Broadway shows, sporting events, and other venues to close.
There has also been political and racial turmoil triggered by the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as well as the protests and riots that ensued in scores of cities and towns worldwide.
This was also the year that a royal couple decided on a ‘Megxit’ and a fresh start in North America.
Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul, faced justice for his crimes while the Fotis Dulos saga came to a tragic end.
There were also shocking deaths of celebrities who departed too soon, including former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant and the Glee star Naya Rivera.
DailyMail.com photographers were there to capture some of the year’s most dramatic and scandalous moments.
The start of January saw the beginning of Weinstein’s rape trial. The former Hollywood mogul stood accused in court of of raping an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 by forcibly performing oral sex on her.
The sports world would suffer a shock toward the end of the month when Kobe Bryant, the 18-time All-Star who won five NBA championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career all with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash on January 26. He was 41.
The crash occurred in the foggy hills above Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Bryant was killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. The basketball world and Los Angeles reacted with an outpouring of pain and disbelief.
January also ushered in a new era for a pair of royals who decided to enter civilian life by shedding their ‘royal highness’ titles.
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced that they would cease to be working members of the royal family and lead financially independent lives.
They will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the British throne.
Rose McGowan gives a statement outside State Supreme Court in Manhattan on January 6, where movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was standing trial for rape. McGowan is one of Weinstein’s scores of sex crimes victims. When the #MeToo movement emerged in 2017, it was learned that McGowan was paid $100,000 by Weinstein in relation to an alleged sexual assault that took place during the Sundance Film Festival in 1997
Fotis Dulos, 51, the successful Connecticut property developer who is alleged to have masterminded the murder of his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, 50, in May of last year, is seen above in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after he was taken into custody by Connecticut State Police at his home in Farmington on January 7. Dulos was found unconscious in the driver’s seat of his Chevrolet Suburban on January 28 after intentionally poisoning himself with carbon monoxide. He died two days later
Prince Harry is pictured above arriving in Vancouver Airport after a British Airways flight from London Heathrow on January 20. Looking relieved after completing his final royal engagement, the prince joined his wife, Meghan Markle, and their infant son, Archie, who were waiting for him on secluded Vancouver Island. The young family embarked on a new chapter in North America after deciding earlier in January to ditch official duties for Buckingham Palace
Recovery workers sift through the crash site in Calabasas, California, on January 27 where a day earlier a helicopter carrying retired basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41; his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna; baseball coach John Altobelli, 56; his wife, Keri, 43; his daughter, Alyssa, 13; pilot Ara Zobayan, 50; Sara Chester, 45; her 13-year-old daughter Payton; and Christina Mauser, 38, one of Bryant’s assistants. The tragic crash of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter shocked the nation and sent the sports world into mourning
The year started innocently enough as topless and clothed swimmers braved the frigid temperatures and did the first-ever ‘polar bear swim’ in New York’s Coney Island on January 1
On February 24, Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault against two women and was led off to prison in handcuffs, sealing his dizzying fall from powerful Hollywood studio boss to archvillain of the #MeToo movement.
The 67-year-old Weinstein had a look of resignation on his face as he heard the verdict that could put him away for the rest of his life. He was eventually sentenced in March to 23 years in prison.
‘This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and it is a new day. It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed,’ District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said.
‘Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims.’
On the horizon, a new threat was beginning to emerge, though the country was unaware of it – the coronavirus.
Though it was spreading rapidly in China, Europe, and other parts of the world, it had yet to appear in the United States.
Initially, the news from abroad affected Chinese expats in America who had to cancel new year events and suffer from an economic downturn as nervous customers avoided Chinatown restaurants and other businesses.
Harvey Weinstein leaves State Supreme Court in Manhattan on February 4. Weeks later, he would be convicted of rape and sexual assault against two women, a stunning fall from grace for a man who was once considered a premier Hollywood film mogul. In March, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison
An empty restaurant is seen above in the Chinatown section of downtown Los Angeles on February 17 as nervous Americans stayed away from Chinese-owned businesses in response to the news about the spread of the coronavirus overseas. Asian American-majority communities throughout the country were reporting a downturn in business which would eventually affect the country as a whole due to the spread of the pandemic
A harbinger of things to come: Streets and businesses in the Chinatown section of downtown Los Angeles were desolate on February 17 as Americans wary of the news about the coronavirus in China stayed away, hurting the local economy
March and April
On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared that the spread of COVID-19 made it a pandemic.
‘Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,’ WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
At the time, there were 118,000 confirmed cases, though that figure has increased exponentially since then.
In America, public health officials were only beginning to grasp the extent of the crisis while the political leadership began to warn of dire consequences to the country’s hospital system that would have to absorb a large influx of patients.
Spring breakers enjoy a last taste of normalcy in Miami before the country goes into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic
After the initial coronavirus deaths were confirmed in Washington State, New Yorkers flocked to this Costco in Brooklyn for some panic shopping on March 2. Videos emerged on social media of shoppers rushing to stock up on toilet paper, bottled water, disinfectant wipes and sanitizer from California to New York
The normally bustling Brooklyn Bridge is completely empty of cars and pedestrians on March 23 after New York State issued stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak. When the pandemic reached America’s shores, New York City emerged as the virus epicenter. Through May 11, New York City recorded nearly 14,800 deaths confirmed by a lab test and another nearly 5,200 probable deaths where no test was available but doctors are sure enough to list the virus on the death certificate
The dire situation in New York and fears that its hospitals would be overrun with COVID-19 patients prompted the federal government to send the US Naval Hospital Ship Comfort to the area. The ship is seen above sailing past the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on March 30
Miami Beach is completely empty. The eerie images were captured on March 28, more than a week after Florida Governor Ron DeSanits closed down the beach after vacationers ignored warnings to stay indoors and socially distance
The economic impact of the lockdowns was felt almost immediately as tourism grounded to a halt and restaurants and bars were forced to shutter. The image above shows more than 1,000 motorists waiting for free food on a line that stretched for miles in Miramar, Florida, on April 16
On April 14, the North Texas Food Bank conducted a mobile distribution of emergency food in Dallas to people suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty members of the Texas National Guard were on hand to distribute 3,750 boxes each weighing 27 pounds of dry pantry staple foods and 3,750 boxes of produce such as apples, oranges, and potatoes at the University of North Texas at Dallas campus. Huge lines of vehicles queued outside the campus to receive the emergency food
Yellow tape is tied to tables outside of a Checker’s restaurant location in Atlanta, Georgia, in April as the lockdown went into effect
Bodies are buried in mass graves by Rikers Island inmates on Hart Island in New York City on April 17, 2020. Families that are unable to afford a funeral or a cremation could ask the city to bury their loved ones for free on Hart Island, the small piece of territory in the Long Island Sound just off the coast of The Bronx. Hart Island is where the city maintains a grave site for the poor and needy. In pre-pandemic times, unclaimed bodies would have been interned on the island, one of the largest public cemeteries in the country. Hart Island is operated by the city’s Department of Correction. Its burials have traditionally been done by inmates at the nearby Rikers Island jail. During the first three months of the pandemic beginning in March, the city reported 203,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 18,679 people died and more than 54,000 people had been hospitalized
Bodies are moved by medical staff to refrigerator truck morgues under the cover of darkness at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn as the number of coronavirus victims continued to climb on April 8
Homeless New Yorkers use the subways as shelters in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 26, 2020. Ridership on New York City’s public transportation system plunged after Governor Andrew Cuomo issued stay-at-home orders that effectively shut non-essential businesses
Nurses Julia Bevilacqua (right) and Nataly Mendoza hug as people cheer and thank health care workers outside of NYU Langone Medical Center during the coronavirus outbreak on April 28
May was a defining month in this country’s long history of tense race relations.
On May 5, the public was shocked by a video that rapidly went viral on social media showing a young black man from Georgia bleeding to death after he was shot by an armed white man who along with his son suspected him to be a burglar.
Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, who are white, chased and fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, after they spotted him running in their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick on February 23.
Gregory McMichael was a retired investigator who had worked in the office of the district attorney in charge of the case.
Because of that relationship, the DA immediately recused her office from involvement in Arbery’s killing and referred police to an outside prosecutor.
The McMichaels were charged in May soon after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case in response to the outcry over the video.
The neighbor who took cellphone video of the shooting, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan, was also charged with murder. He and the McMichaels have pleaded not guilty.
Later that same month, another viral video of a black man dying – this time at the hands of the police – would spark widespread outrage, triggering the worst civil unrest in the country’s history.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25.
Cell phone video of his arrest shows Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, kneel on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes while Floyd is heard telling him that he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin and three other police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the force and later arrested and charged.
The officers detained Floyd when he was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
After weeks of lockdowns, Floridians were ready to go out and party. People were seen dancing, drinking and sharing a hookah on the deck of one yacht in Biscayne Bay in Miami amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 9
Exclusive photos taken by DailyMail.com show the moment Gregory McMichael, 64, was arrested at his home in Brunswick, Georgia, on Thursday, May 7. The dramatic arrests come days after leaked cellphone video of Michael and his son’s fatal confrontation with Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, on February 23 made headlines nationwide, sparking fevered outrage and demands for justice in what the victim’s family called a ‘lynching.’
Members of the Minnesota National Guard are seen above on the streets of Minneapolis after protests in the city erupted in the wake of the police-involved killing of George Floyd
An AutoZone store in Minneapolis was set on fire and sprayed with graffiti as flames ripped through the building on May 27, the second night of protesting over the death of George Floyd
A Black Lives Matter protester holds up a sign while standing a few feet away from Minnesota state police in Minneapolis on May 27
On May 29, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an emergency order to implement a curfew across the whole state. That day, thousands of protesters approached the Lake St. Midtown Station where the National Guard and State Police had set up in an attempt to implement the curfew. The image above shows the scene near the Lake St. Midtown Station and the burned down Third precinct
‘A murderer lives here’: Protesters scrawled graffiti outside the home of white cop Derek Chauvin who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes until he passed out and later died. This photo was taken on May 27 outside Chauvin’s home in Oakdale, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul
A New York Police Department van was set on fire as protesters confronted police officers during protests for George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020, in New York
In May, San Francisco opened its first sanctioned camp site that can house 50 homeless residents after locals complained of makeshift tents clogging sidewalks. After years of struggling to support the homeless community in San Francisco, city officials erected a ‘Safe Sleeping Village’ in an idle McDonald’s parking lot near City Hall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Beachgoers watch from Cocoa Beach Pier as the SpaceX Crew Dragon takes off from Kennedy Space Center toward the International Space Station on Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley took off in Crew Dragon atop Falcon 9 at 3.22pm Eastern Time on May 30. The beaches along the Space Coast were packed as thousands gathered to watch the launch
While the nation was in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans poured out into the streets by the tens of thousands to demonstrate against police brutality.
Spurred on by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, protesters demanded that local governments slash funding to police departments.
In some cases, activists called for entirely abolishing police and replacing officers with social workers and mental health professionals.
But the demonstrations also descended into violence and chaos, with looters ransacking abandoned stores and making off with stolen merchandise.
The images of people looting shops and burning buildings to the ground dampened support for the Black Lives Matter movement and fueled public opposition to calls to defund the police.
The above image shows the makeshift shrine for George Floyd marking the spot where he was violently arrested outside a local convenience store as the community came together marking the end of violent protest in Minneapolis
Protesters in New York City are arrested on June 2 for breaking curfew as they demonstrated against the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota a week earlier
George Floyd’s coffin is seen being taken out of the sanctuary at North Central University in Minneapolis after his memorial service on June 4. Floyd’s memorial drew the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and members of Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson-Lee and Ayanna Pressley. Among the celebrities in attendance were T.I., Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Marsai Martin
New York City repairs and braces itself for yet another day of protesting and looting as every business on 5th Avenue gets boarded up on June 2, 2020. Tiffany, Chanel, Dior, Miu Miu, Burberry, and Bergdorf Goodman are all boarded up as New York’s finest shopping areas around Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue and 57th Street prepare for more possible destruction
‘The Most Magical Place on Earth’ reopened after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks before Disney after they instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus. A Disney employee is seen above selling balloons after the reopening
An armed man is seen in the ‘Capital Hill Occupied Protest’ zone, a downtown area of Seattle taken over by protesters in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The group had occupied several blocks around a park for about two weeks after police abandoned a precinct station following standoffs and clashes.
Two members of the ‘CHOP’ stand guard outside of the ‘autonomous zone’ in the Capitol Hill section of downtown Seattle on June 11. After two fatal shootings and other violence incidents, police on July 1 moved into the area and cleared it of protesters
Well-wishers leave balloons and signs in remembrance of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old African American man who was fatally shot by police in the parking lot of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta on June 12. Officers were called to the scene after
The George Floyd killing and the protests that followed shone a fresh spotlight on Confederate monuments and statues. Since Floyd’s death, dozens of them were taken down all across the South. The image above shows Black Lives Matter supporters near the Robert E. Lee Monument preparing to face off with police on June 25, 2020
America, increasingly restless in the midst of a five-months-long pandemic and racial strife, is a country divided.
Protesters continued to dig in in various cities across the nation, demanding that authorities enact police reform.
The summer also saw the nation’s culture wars play out in full force, with debate simmering over America’s past and whether to honor statues and monuments to those who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Protestors clash with members of the New York Police Department at City Hall Park on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 in New York. The ‘Occupy City Hall’ encampment began following weeks of street protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and other black Americans killed by law enforcement
Supporters of Black Lives Matter (right) and backers of President Trump (left) argue in front of Trump Tower in New York City on July 9. Americans were more divided than ever this year as political hot-button issues like police violence and race relations dominated headlines and pitted one side against another
Portland, Oregon, was a major flash point of conflict this summer as the Trump administration deployed federal police to protect a federal court building. Federal officers are seen above using tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters in downtown Portland this past July
Members of an armed, all-black militia, the ‘Not F*****g Around Coalition,’ are seen above in Stone Mountain, Georgia, on July 4. Stone Mountain State Park officials said the militia group was peaceful, orderly and escorted by police as they called for the removal of the country’s largest Confederate monument near Atlanta
Naya Rivera’s father is seen above swimming while looking for his drowned daughter in Lake Piru, California, on July 11, 2020. Glee star Naya Rivera ’s 4-year-old son told investigators that his mother, whose body was found in the Southern California lake on July 13, boosted him back on to the deck of their rented boat before he looked back and saw her disappearing under the water, authorities said. ‘She must have mustered enough energy to get her son back on the boat, but not enough to save herself,’ Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said
Stone Mountain, Georgia, is home to the largest Confederate monument ever crafted – colossal figures carved into the solid rock of a mountainside.
Stone Mountain’s supersized sculpture depicting Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson mounted on horseback has special protection enshrined in Georgia law.
It was also the site of clashes between right-wing protesters who believe the site to be an important part of the country’s historical heritage and Black Lives Matter supporters who say that it represents America’s slave-owning past and needs to be taken down.
Meanwhile, more trouble was brewing in Wisconsin, where a Kenosha police officer shot a 29-year-old black man, Jacob Blake, during a failed attempt to detain him.
The incident was caught on cell phone video and posted to social media, where it quickly went viral, sparking more protests and rioting in the small town just 40 miles south of Milwaukee.
A man armed with a rifle holds up an ‘All Lives Matter’ banner while other far-right participants waved Confederate and Trump 2020 flags in Stone Mountain, Georgia, on August 15. Several dozen right-wing demonstrators, some waving the Confederate battle flag and many wearing military gear, gathered in downtown Stone Mountain where they faced off against a few hundred counterprotesters, many of whom wore shirts or carried signs expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. People in both groups carried rifles
Streets were left unpassable around Lake Charles, Louisiana, after Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph on August 27. At least 14 people died and thousands were displaced as a result of the hurricane
Black Lives Matter protesters clash with law enforcement officers in the park opposite the Kenosha County court building in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the aftermath of the August 23 police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man
A used car lot that was torched by arsonists is seen above in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 1. The town was roiled by protests and violence in the days following the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American man, on August 23. A white Kenosha police officer shot him seven times in the back after Blake walked away from the officer and two others who were trying to arrest him. The officer, Rusten Sheskey, opened fire after Blake opened his own SUV’s driver-side door and leaned into the vehicle. The shooting was captured on video and posted online, sparking several nights of protests and unrest in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 between Milwaukee and Chicago
September and October
The political and legal worlds were rocked on September 18 when it was announced that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87.
Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Chief Justice John Roberts mourned Ginsburg’s passing.
‘Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice,” Roberts said in a statement.
The body of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lay in repose on the front steps of the United States Supreme Court on September 24. Ginsburg, a towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died at her home in Washington on September 18. She was 87. Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her death just over six weeks before Election Day set off a heated battle over whether President Donald Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senate should confirm, her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known. Trump eventually filled the seat by naming Amy Coney Barrett
Tensions were running high as Americans prepared to go to the ballot box and cast their votes for their preferred presidential candidate.
This wasn’t an ordinary election year, as fears grew of possible violence, looting, and vandalism in the run-up to November 3 and beyond.
In downtown Washington, the sounds of hammers and power tools echoed through the streets Monday as workers boarded up dozens of businesses.
In New York City, businesses from Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square to high-end shops in Manhattan’s chic SoHo neighborhood had already covered their windows.
Similar scenes played out in Denver and St. Paul, Minnesota, with business owners fearing that Tuesday’s election could lead to the sort of unrest that broke out earlier this year.
Fortunately, those fears were unfounded as the election went off largely peacefully.
In the aftermath, however, supports of President Trump held ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies to call for the overturning of the result.
WASHINGTON DC: Protesters dressed in black, carrying umbrellas and holding signs marched through the streets of Washington in the early hours of Wednesday morning after three arrests were made in the Capitol on November 3
A member of the Proud Boys (second from right) is stabbed during street fights in Washington, DC, after a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally protesting the United States presidential election results on December 12, 2020
For several consecutive days, supporters of President Trump gathered outside the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, to protest the state’s certification of Joe Biden as the winner of its Electoral College votes
Members of an armed right-wing militia stand opposite antifa activists at a pro-Trump MAGA rally in front of the Georgia State Capitol in December. Georgia State Police (not seen in the above photo) kept the peace and separated the feuding sides
The ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies brought out some colorful characters, including Duane Schwingel, 62, of Gainesville, Florida, who was recognizable as he dressed up like Uncle Sam during the demonstrations. He is seen above in front of the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta